Question 5: Can the spouse who wants to file for divorce with proof of the petition file be able to submit it by post or directly submit at the office of a competent Court of justice? If the spouse submits by post, how can he or she know if the Court agrees to accept the case and what is the date of acceptance?

  1. Submiting a divorce petition via post

In many cases, the geographical distance between the competent Court and the current domicile of the spouse makes it difficult for the plaintiff to directly submit the divorce petition. To overcome this issue, the Civil Proceedings Code 2015 has adjusted the provisions on the form of filing lawsuits through postal services[3]. Accordingly, after the Court receives the petition for divorce with all the required documents, the Court will send the notice of receipt to the sender at the sender’s address that is mentioned in the petition within two working days. The receipt date will be calculated on one of the following three grounds[4]:

  • The date indicated on the postmark of the postal service provider;
  • If it is impossible to identify the date on the postmark of the sending post office, the date of initiation of a legal action is the date on which the plaintiff sends the petition at a postal service provider; and
  • The plaintiff has to prove such date; and if he or she fails to do so, the date of initiation of a legal action shall be the date on which the Court receives the petition delivered by the postal service provider.

2. A notice accepting jurisdiction of a case

In the case of a valid divorce petition with adequate documentations and proper jurisdiction of the Court, the Court will consider the petition and issue a notice accepting jurisdiction of a case within 08 working days counting from the date the Court[6]receives the petition. However, since the notice accepting jurisdiction is sent by post based on the sender’s address, the actual time may be more than 08 days than regulation of the law, depending on the postal service. In case the Court does not accept the petition, it still must inform the applicant one of the reasons of not accepting  the petition. However, in practice, the petition to be sent by post by the Plaintiff will face the following obstacles:

  • For the file of divorce, enclosed with the lawsuit petition (for the case of unilateral divorce), the petition for recognition of divorce (for cases of divorce by mutual consent) must have an original copy of the marriage registration certificate and other relevant documents. The postal service does not check the composition of postal items, in the course of transportation, there may be incidents of misplaced files or failure to reach the competent Court’s address. This is one of the reasons causing psychological worry of the spouses when deciding to use postal services to transmit files;
  • In addition, the duration of the process for considering the divorce petition is longer when the files are sent by post rather than from direct submission. When filing directly, the officer recipient will immediately consider the validity of the petition file, form, and content and immediately respond to the plaintiff for correction. If minor errors can be corrected directly at the receiving office, the officer recipient will then prepare a receipt record immediately, including an appointment to return the results to the plaintiff. The process for sending by post will be longer, more complicated, and without a specific time of returning the results. In principle, when receiving the documents from the postal clerk, the clerical section will sign to receive and bring the petition file to the office to classify the petition, appeal, complaint, etc. After such classification, the petition file will be transferred to the Receiving Department to check the content, composition, form of petition. If in the case of a valid dossier, the Court will send to the litigant’s address, the time of receipt cannot be determined accurately but depends on the speed of the Court’s processing and the postage, there are many cases where the spouses do not receive a receipt. If in case the dossier needs to be amended or supplemented, the Court will send notice of modification or addition of the petition to the litigant’s address. The spouse must amend and supplement at the request of the Court and the process must be continued, and repeated, increasing the time consumed. This may cause difficulties and inconveniences for the litigant’s life, especially in cases where the marriage case is stressful, and cannot be extended.

[3] Article 190.1.(b) of the Civil Proceedings Code 2015.

[4] Article 190.2 of the Civil Proceedings Code 2015.

[6] Article 191.2 and Article 191.3 of the Civil Proceedings Code 2015.

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