Vietnam’s Low Divorce Rate
Vietnam has among the lowest divorce rates in the world. Vietnam’s divorce rate is approximately one divorce for 10,000 persons. Reasons for this low divorce rate can be found in the social mores of Vietnam, in the role of Vietnamese women and in Vietnamese civil law.
Reasons For Vietnam’s Low Divorce Rate
Vietnam is a traditional patriarchal society where the male is the head of the family. Vietnamese society lays strong emphasis on family and marriage. As with many other Asian countries, traditionally marriages were performed at an early age. Most marriages were (and still are) arranged marriages where not just the prospective groom and bride are appraised, but also their families. Marriage is seen as a relationship between two families and not just a union between man and women. Divorce, and even separation, is frowned upon by Vietnamese society. Men and women in bad marriages are compelled to stay together because of pressure from society.
Another reason for the low divorce rate is the civil laws of Vietnam that make divorce difficult. Vietnam’s “Marriage and Family Law” is the law that deals with divorce. As per this law, civil courts have to first ask those seeking a divorce to make an attempt at reconciliation. These reconciliation attempts have to be documented and presented to the court. If reconciliation fails, the couple has to convince the court that the couple mutually agrees to the future rearing of their children and that assets have been fairly divided. Only then does the court grant a divorce. Two thirds of Vietnamese divorces occur because of domestic violence. Adultery is the second most common reason for a divorce.
As Vietnam becomes more prosperous the role of women is changing. More Vietnamese women are participating in the work force and contributing to Vietnam’s economic development. As Vietnamese women are becoming financially independent, so are their expectations and attitudes towards traditional marriages.
Vietnamese Women Marrying Foreigners
Vietnam’s strong institution of marriage has attracted men from other East Asian countries to marry Vietnamese women. It is now a common occurrence for men from South Korea, Taiwan and China to seek a Vietnamese bride. It is estimated that in 2009, approximately 40,000 South Korean men married Vietnamese women. The history of South Korean men marrying Vietnamese women goes back to the Vietnam War when 300,000 South Koreans served in Vietnam.
The Vietnam War was also a time when many American – Vietnamese marriages took place. For marriages in Vietnam, marriage documents and certificates are in Vietnamese. It is important that Vietnamese certified translation of marriage certificate is made; especially when travelling to the US. Some of these war time marriages lasted only for the duration of the war and they ended in divorce.