1. Regulations on support obligations
An illegitimate child can be understood as a child born when the parents do not register the marriage. According to the provisions of the Law on Marriage and Family of Vietnam, if a man and a woman do not legally register their marriage, their marriage relationship is not protected by law. However, the law still stipulates rights and obligations towards children to protect the legitimate interests of children born when their parents are not married.
According to Clause 24, Article 3 of Vietnam's Law on Marriage and Family 2014:
Support means an act whereby a person has the obligation to contribute money or other kinds of property to meet the essential needs of another person who does not live together with but has marriage, blood or raising relation with the former and is a minor or an adult who has no working capacity and no property to support himself/herself, or meets with financial difficulties as prescribed by this Law.
In addition, Article 68 on the protection of rights and obligations of parents and children provides:
"1. The rights and obligations of parents and children under this Law, the Civil Code and other relevant laws shall be respected and protected.
2. Children who are born regardless of their parents’ marital status all have the same rights and obligations toward their parents prescribed in this Law, the Civil Code and other relevant laws.
Thus, the law stipulates that the support obligation applies to cases where the supportee is related by blood to the supporter and does not depend on the marital status of the parents. The rights and obligations of parents and children are regulated and protected by law. Therefore, parents must be responsible for performing their child support obligations when they do not directly raise them, even if they are illegitimate children.
Article 107 of the Law on Marriage and Family 2014 provides for the support obligations as follows:
"Article 107. Support obligation
1. The support obligation shall be performed between parents and children; among siblings; between paternal grandparents, maternal grandparents and grandchildren; between aunts, uncles and nieces, nephews; and between husband and wife in accordance with this Law.
The support obligation can be neither replaced by another obligation nor transferred to other people.
2. In case persons having the support obligation shirk this obligation, at the request of the persons, agencies or organizations prescribed in Article 119 of this Law, courts shall compel these persons to perform the support obligation in accordance with this Law."
As a result, if an obligor fails to meet his or her support obligations, the individual, agency, or organization specified in Article 119 of this Law may petition a court to compel that person to meet those obligations in accordance with the law.
Persons who have the right to request the performance of support obligations under Article 119 of the Family Law, include:
- The supported person, his/her parent or guardian has the right in accordance with the civil procedure law.
- Individuals, agencies or organizations have the right in accordance with the civil procedure law:
+ Next of kin;
+ State management agencies in charge of families;
+ State management agencies in charge of children;
+ Women’s unions.
- Other individuals, agencies and organizations have the right, when detecting acts of shirking the performance of the support obligation, to request the agencies or organizations to request a court to force the people who fail to voluntarily perform the support obligation to perform such obligation.
2. Penalties for evading support obligations
The support obligation has been regulated and protected by law, so any individual who intentionally violates or shirks his/her obligations will be sanctioned in accordance with the law.
Article 57 of Decree 144/2021/ND-CP stipulates:
"1. fine of from VND 5.000.000 to VND 10.000.000 shall be imposed for any of the following violations:
a) Denying or evading support obligations between husband and wife after divorce, refusing or evading the nurturing obligations between sisters and brothers, between paternal grandparents, maternal grandparents and grandchildren under the regulations of law;
b) Denying or evading the support and nurturing obligations for parents; obligations of support and care for children after divorce as prescribed by law;"
When the act of evading the support obligation causes serious consequences or has been administratively sanctioned but continues to commit it, the person who commits the violation will be prosecuted for criminal liability for the crime of "Denial or avoidance of obligation to provide support" defined in Article 186 of the Criminal Code 2015 (amended and supplemented in 2017).
“Article 186. Denial or avoidance of obligation to provide support
If a person who has an obligation to provide support and is capable of providing support for another person for whom the former is responsible for providing support as prescribed by law denies or avoids such obligation and such denial or avoidance results in serious bodily harm of the recipient or does it while having incurred an administrative penalty for any of the offences specified in this Article, except in the circumstances specified in Article 380 hereof, the offender shall receive a warning, face a penalty of up to 02 year's community sentence or 03 - 24 months' imprisonment.”
Thus, anyone who refuses or evades the support obligation will be fined up to 10,000,000 VND or may be sentenced to imprisonment for 3 months to 2 years depending on the nature and seriousness of the act.