Under the provisions of Clause 24, Article 3 of the 2014 Law on Marriage and Family in Vietnam, alimony is a person’s obligation to contribute money or other assets to meet the essential needs of people who do not live with them but are related through either marriage, bloodline or raising relationships in case the person is a minor, or to an adult who has no working capacity and no property to support himself or herself or who is in need of provisions of the Law. However, alimony has many issues requiring analysis, which this post shall provide.
Regarding support obligations
Support obligations are fulfilled between parents and children, between siblings, between grandparents and their grandchildren, between aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and between husband and wife. The support obligation cannot be replaced by another obligation and cannot be transferred to another person.
By studying the above problem, we can see how this obligation is performed among family members.
Support level and mode of support
The law also stipulates very clearly the level and mode of support as follows:
Regarding support level: The support level is agreed upon by the obligor and the supported person or his/her guardian based on his/her practical income, capabilities, and support needs. Weakness of the supported person; if no agreement is reached, ask the Court for settlement.
When there is a good reason, the support rate may change. The change of support level is agreed upon by the parties; if no agreement can be reached, ask the Court for settlement (Article 116 of the Law on Marriage and Family 2014).
Regarding the mode of support: Support may be made monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, or once.
The parties may agree to change the mode of support; support can be suspended in case the obligor falls into economic difficulties and is unable to perform the support obligation; if no agreement is reached, ask the Court for settlement.
When a person is obliged to support numerous people, the support person and the supported people shall reach agreement on the method and level of support suitable to the income, and practical capabilities of the obligor, and essential needs of the supported people; if no agreement is reached, they can ask the Court for settlement.
Where many obligors have the same obligation to support one or more people, these obligors agree on the method and level of contribution appropriate to each person’s income, practical capabilities, and needs. Weakness of the supported person; if no agreement is reached, they can ask the Court for settlement.
In criminal cases where a victim dies, the defendant shall also have to pay alimony to the persons for whom the victim is obliged to support.
The court fees for alimony
Child support is one of the most contested cases in court. This dispute often appears in divorce cases. According to the regulations, the person who requests the Court to resolve the dispute regarding alimony does not have to pay the court fee in advance, but the person who has the obligation to support the child must pay the court fee.
The person who asks for child support (the person who directly takes care of the child) is not liable for the court fee.
Regarding the refusal or shirking of support obligation
Not everyone who is subject to support obligations is also willing to perform their obligations. Therefore, the law also anticipates this case. By the following provisions: Where the obligor shirks of the obligation, pursuant to request of the individual, agency, organisation, or Court, the person is obliged to perform the support obligation.
Persons entitled to request the fulfilment of support obligations include: the person supported, his/her parent or guardian, relatives, State management agencies on families, State management agencies on children, and the Women’s Union.
In addition, this fugitive will be subject to the punishment of State authorities. Specifically, according to the provisions of law, a person who evades or declines the obligation to support a child shall be administratively sanctioned from VND100,000 to VND300,000 or face criminal prosecution. Whereby:
Article 54 of Decree No. 167/2013 / ND-CP of 12 November, 2013 of the Government stipulating sanctions against administrative violations in the field of security, social order and safety, prevention of social evils, fire prevention and fighting, and prevention and control of domestic violence.
As well as the provisions of Article 186 of the 2015 Penal Code as amended and supplemented in 2017 stipulating “Crime of refusing or evading the obligation to support” as follows: “Those who have the obligation to support and are able to support In fact, in order to provide the support to the person for whom he/she is obliged to provide support as prescribed by law, he/she refuses or evades the support obligation, making the supported person in danger of his/her life, health, or has been administratively sanctioned for one of the acts specified in this Article but also violates, if not in the case specified in Article 380 of this Code, shall be cautioned, fined. Non-custodial reform for up to 02 years or a prison term of from 03 months to 02 years.”
Thus, if they avoid the obligation to support them, the offender may be subject to not only administrative penalties but also criminal prosecution. The obligor must seriously perform his/her obligations.
Termination of support obligations
The law also stipulates very clearly the cases allowed to terminate support obligations as follows:
Support obligation between parents and children, between siblings, between grandparents and their grandchildren, between aunts, uncles and nephews, and between husband and wife will terminate in the cases specified in Article 118 of the Law on Marriage and Family 2014. The specific cases are as follows:
- The supported person is an adult and has the working capacity or property to support himself/herself;
- The supported person is adopted;
- The supporting person directly raises the supported person;
- The supporting person or the supported person dies;
- The supported party after getting divorced; and
- Other cases as prescribed by law.
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