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Vietnam - The Revised Marriage And Family Law Of 2000

gender cohabitation development hanoi vietnamese republic reforms

On June 9, 2000, the Vietnamese National Assembly adopted the Marriage and Family Law of 2000. Consisting of thirteen chapters and 110 articles, the law revised the marriage and family code of 1986. Striving to preserve traditional values within progressive reforms, the new law recognized that a woman could have a child without a husband, forbade marriage between a foreigner and Vietnamese for mercenary reasons, and declared wife-beating and child abuse illegal. Prior to 2000, the law on these categories was either nonexistent or vague.

Article II addressed the emerging phenomenon of cohabitation. Under the 1986 statue, such living arrangements were illegal. However, the 2000 reforms stipulated that although cohabitation between unmarried couples was no longer considered a criminal act, neither would such arrangements be recognized as equal to marriage between a husband and wife. Other provisions of Article II clarify divorce procedures, encourage gender equity within marriage (including treatment of sons and daughters), and emphasize the equal treatment of children born within and out of wedlock.

Other additions to Vietnamese marriage and family law contained in the 2000 reforms recognize the existence and importance of extended families. Article V clarifies relations between grandparents, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, and other family members. Chapter VI addresses support obligations, and Chapter IX spells out the responsibilities of guardianship within intergenerational households.

Clearly, Vietnam has displayed a willingness to adapt its family policies to a rapidly changing social landscape. Today, with a population of more than 70 million people, half of whom were born after 1975 when the war with the United States ended, Vietnam serves as a fascinating case study of a developing nation struggling with modernization. After being subjected to centuries of colonial rule, thirty years of civil conflict, two major wars against modern Western powers, and a complicated reunification process that began in the mid-1970s, a major law was passed in 1986 that produced a deliberate shift from state-sponsored socialism to free-market capitalism. Clearly, the nation's families were affected by these developments, and specific marriage and family laws were adopted to reflect these historical influences. It is likely that more reforms will follow.


See also: ASIAN-AMERICAN FAMILIES; CONFUCIANISM; ETHNIC VARIATION/ETHNICITY

Bibliography


Council of Ministers (1992). "Decision of the Council of Ministers on Temporary Regulations on the Adoptions by Foreign People of Vietnamese Children Orphaned, Abandoned, and Disabled Living in Feeding Institutions Managed by the Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs Authorities." Hanoi: Council of Ministers, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, No. 145-HBDT, April 29, 1999.

Goodkind, D. (1992). "Rising Gender Inequality in Vietnam Since Reunification." Pacific Affairs 68(3):342–359.

Himmelstrand, I. (1981). Women in Vietnam. Stockholm, Sweden: Swedish International Development Authority's Policy Development and Evaluation Division.

Kaufman, J., and Sen, G. (1993). "Population, Health, and Gender in Vietnam: Social Policies under the Economic Reforms." In The Challenge of Reform in Indochina, ed. B. Ljunggren. Harvard Institute for International Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Thanh-Dam Truong. (1997). "Uncertain Horizons: The Women's Question in Vietnam Revisited." Working paper series no. 212. The Hague: Institute of Social Studies.

Tran Xuan Nhi. (1995). "Vietnam's Families." In Worldwide State of the Family. Tashknet, ed. A. Gafurov. Uzbekistan: Institute of Strategic and Interregional Studies.

Turley, W. (1993). "Political Renovation in Vietnam: Renewal and Adaptation." In The Challenge of Reform in Indochina, ed. B. Ljunggren. Harvard Institute for International Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Vietnam Government (1986). The 1986 Law on Marriage and the Family. Hanoi: The Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Vietnam Government (1994) "Decree of the Government Stipulating the Procedure of Marriage, Adoption of Illegitimate Children, Adoption of Children, and tutorship of Children between Vietnamese Citizens and Foreigners." Hanoi: The Socialist Republic of Vietnam, No. 184/CP, November 30, 1194.

Vietnam Government (2000). The Revised Marriage and Family Law of 2000. Hanoi: The National Assembly, June 9, 2000.

Wisensale, S. (1999). "Marriage and Family Law in a Changing Vietnam." Journal of Family Issues Fall (20):5–16.

Wisensale, S. (2000). "Family Policy in a Changing Vietnam." Journal of Comparative Family Studies 31(1):79–92.


Other Resources

Constitution of the Republic of Vietnam (1946). From an Outline of Institutions of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Hanoi, 1974, 26. Available from http://www.cpv.org.vn/vietname_en/.

Vietnam Law Monthly (2002). "The Law on Marriage and Family." Available from http://www. vietnampanorama.com/.

Vietnam Population News. (2000). "Changes in Marriage and Family Concepts in Vietnam." N. 15, April-June 2000. Available from http://www.ncpfp.netnam.vn/tapchi/vietnam

STEVEN K. WISENSALE

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almost 4 years ago

Hello my name is levi bridges my father might be geting a divorce and my little sister is almost three and is a us citizen although her mother is not and we want to keep her here while her mom wants to go back to vietnam, I want to know if there is anything where we could set up she stays in the u.s. for 9 months and goes to vietnam for the summer?