June 20, 2018

Canadian Government Proposes Bill to Radically Change Family Laws

The Canadian federal government introduced legislation recently that would bring major changes to existing family laws, including the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act, and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act.

Overall, the proposed changes seek to help families settle disputes outside of court while also improving child-support and increasing the well-being of children whose families are going through transitions.

One way the bill aims to help families is by encouraging them to use family dispute resolution and mediation services, a move that would take much of the burden off the court systems.

And as for custody proceedings, if passed, the legislation would require courts to consider a host of factors before deciding which parent should get the bulk of the access to their kids–including, most importantly, any history of family violence from either spouse.

Read the full story here.

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New Kentucky Joint Custody Law Puts Children First

Kentucky became the first nation in the U.S. to make joint custody the “legal presumption” in divorce proceedings, according to the Courier Journal.

The law is a historic step away from traditional divorce cases where the judge can play the key decision maker on which parent gets to be the primary custodian, relegating the other to a disproportionately less amount of parenting time.

With the change, both parents start on equal footing for shared custody. Then, the judge determines whether or not each qualifies for joint custody based on 11 factors, one being if one of the parties has filed a domestic violence complaint against the other in the last three years.

If domestic violence isn’t a factor in the case and there are no other glaring red flags, the judge must grant equal custody to the parents.

“Joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child,” the law said.

Read the full story here.

For legal advice on custody battles in Thailand or other familial issues, contact the expert lawyers at Chaninat & Leeds.

Supreme Court Upholds Retroactive Use of Minnesota Divorce Law

The Supreme Court stood by the retroactive application of a Minnesota divorce law on Monday in a case involving a divorced couple and $180,000 in life insurance benefits, according to the Associated Press.

Mark Sveen and Kaye Melin, who divorced in 2007, never specified who the life insurance proceeds should go to.

A 2002 Minnesota law though says that in the wake of a couple’s divorce, the ex-spouse is automatically removed as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy, unless explicitly stated otherwise in divorce proceedings.

When Sveen died in 2011, Melin argued that she should receive the life insurance proceeds and not Sveen’s two children from a previous marriage. She claimed the 2002 Minnesota law could not be applied to the case because it was passed after the life insurance policy was purchased.

The justices struck down Melin’s appeal, ruling 8-1 against her.

Read the full story here.

For questions concerning divorce law in Thailand, contact the experienced attorneys at Chaninat & Leeds.

Thailand Divorce FAQ’s

Q1. What is the difference between a Thailand divorce registered at the District office and a Thailand court divorce?

Q.2 Are Non-Thai National Foreigners Able to Receive land as Part of a Settlement or Law Judgement in a Thai Divorce in Thailand?

Q.3 Do both divorcing spouses need to be present in Thailand for a divorce?

Q.4 Can Spouses who were Married Outside of Thailand get a divorce in Thailand?

Q5. Will a divorce in Thailand be recognized in the UK or US?

Q6. What are “grounds” for a divorce and what are Thailand’s requirements for “grounds” in regard to a  divorce?

Q7. Is Alimony required by Thai law?

Q8. How do Thailand Courts determine rights to child custody between parents in a divorce case?

Q9. How Long do you Have to Wait to Get Re-Married After a Divorce?

Q1. What is the difference between a Thailand divorce registered at the District office and a Thailand court divorce?

A1. Most divorces in Thailand fall in 2 categories: Administrative divorce and court divorces. Administrative divorce registrations are allowed in Thailand at government District offices provided that the couple was married in Thailand and they agree to the divorce. Divorce complaints can normally be filed provided that there is a valid jurisdiction in the Thailand Court to hear the divorce and there is a valid ground for divorce.  Court divorces are normally filed in Thailand courts when the spouses cannot agree either to the divorce or to the terms of the divorce.

Q.2 Are Non-Thai National Foreigners Able to Receive land in Thailand as Part of a Settlement or Law Judgement in a Divorce in Thailand?

A.2 In general, Thai law prohibits foreigners owning land in Thailand. Pursuant to a 1999 Ministry of Interior regulation. However, a foreigner married to a Thai national can purchase land, but the land must be registered as a non-marital or separate personal property of the Thai spouse.

Currently when a Thai-foreign couple purchases land in Thailand, the Thailand Land Department will require that the non-Thai spouse signs a legal document that the land will be the separate property of the Thai spouse.

Nevertheless, a foreign spouse in a divorce case in Thailand Court can present evidence that Thailand land held by his or her Thai spouse is actually Community Property of the marriage (or the foreigners separate property in whole or part). Evidence to support the foreign spouse’s legal argument may include bank statements regarding the source of funds being the prenuptial agreements that state the real estate is community property, building licenses in the foreign spouse’s name, email correspondence and other evidence. The fact that foreign ownership is prohibited may not necessarily be a ban to arguing foreign ownership because the law would direct the foreign spouse to liquidate his real estate holdings within a specified time.

Q.3 Do both divorcing spouses need to be present in Thailand for a divorce?

A.3 For an administrative divorce in one of Thailand’s district offices, both divorcing parties must appear to sign and attest the divorce registration. However, for a court divorce, it is possible that one Party, usually the Defendant (the spouse who receives the complaint, rather than the spouse who sends the complaint) may be able to be represented in court by a licensed Attorney and therefore may, potentially, not need to appear.

Q.4 Can Spouses who were Married Outside of Thailand get a divorce in Thailand?

A.4 Foreign nationals may potentially, use the Thailand legal system to get a divorce in Thailand even if they were married outside of Thailand provided they meet jurisdiction requirements of the Thailand courts. The requirements of court include one spouse residing in Thailand (or being a registered Thai national) or having married in Thailand. There must also be a valid ground for the divorce to access Thai Courts as well.

On the other hand, to qualify to register an administrative divorce (as opposed to a Court divorce) requires that the marriage was originally registered in Thailand.

Q5. Will a divorce in Thailand be recognized in the UK or US?

A5. Normally, divorces are recognized internationally if the legal system that granted the divorce meets basic due process requirements. According to the legal principle called “Comity” divorces are normally recognized by other nations and states based on respect for other nation’s law and legal process.

However, this is because divorces are adjudicated by a court and therefore have several levels of due process protections. Court divorces from Thailand are more universally recognized than are administrative divorces. For certain legal actions, the divorce in Thailand must be by a court order rather than an administrative registrations.  For example, the UK has special requirements in this regard.  An overseas divorce obtained otherwise than by means of proceedings is recognized in the UK if:

  • It is effective under the law of the country in which it was obtained.
  • At the date on which the divorce was obtained, both parties were domiciled in that country or one was domiciled there while the other was domiciled in a country which recognized the divorce.
  • Neither party had been habitually resident in the UK throughout the period of one year immediately preceding that date.

Q6. What are “grounds” for a divorce and what are Thailand’s requirements for “grounds” in regard to a  divorce?

A6. “Grounds” is the legal terms for legal reasons that may be accepted in Thailand courts for a divorce case.  In order for a complaint for divorce to be accepted in Thailand courts, the complaint must provide evidence that shows that a ground for a divorce.  For example, adultery or abandonment by any spouse are valid grounds for divorce that would allow the aggrieved spouse to file a divorce complaint.

In administrative divorces at Thailand district office, divorce is consensual, and grounds for a divorce are not required.  Therefore registering an administrative divorce is similar to filing a divorce in a “no fault” jurisdiction, while filing a court claim follows the more traditional rule wherein there must be a legal reason for the divorce

Under Thai Law, there are twelve grounds for divorce in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Q7. Is Alimony required by Thai law?

A7. Alimony is the payment a court order of one divorcing spouse to pay the living expenses of the other spouse.  Normally to receive alimony, the spouse requesting alimony must show that they have no income and have become dependent on the support of the divorcing spouse.  Alimony is often referred to as “maintenance” and is required pursuant to Thailand law under certain circumstances.

In general, alimony is required based on the needs of the ex-spouse requesting the financial support. However, alimony financial amounts is normally ordered for a shorter period of time and is normally significantly less than would be ordered by Western nation courts.   In consensual administrative divorces, alimony not is required unless the parties make an agreement that includes alimony.

Q8. How do Thailand Courts determine rights to child custody between parents in a divorce case?

A8. Child custody disputes between parents are quite common in divorce cases.  However, custody disputes can also arise between unmarried parents.  Without a court order changing custody., Thailand law grants both lawful parents with full custodial rights. However, one important point is that biological fathers may believe that they are a lawful parent.  However legal issues often surround the finding of paternity. In other words, Thailand law requires that to be a lawful father with parental rights the father must be married to the lawful mother or obtain an order of paternity from a Thai court of government office.

Q9. How Long do you Have to Wait to Get Re-Married After a Divorce?

A9. According to section 1453 of the Marriage Law of Thailand, Chapter II: Conditions of Marriage, there must be a waiting period of 310 days since the termination of the previous marriage or of the dead spouse. Conditions that pervade this section include:

  • Having a child during the waiting period
  • The spouses who have terminated their marriage, remarry
  • A court order allowing the woman to remarry
  • A medical doctors confirmation of no pregnancy

The purpose of the waiting period is to prevent a child from a prior husband being born during the second marriage. This is because there is a presumption that a child born during wedlock is the child of the husband. Normally, this provision can be waived based on a medical exam result showing no pregnancy.



Israel to Give Same-Sex Couples Equal Adoption Rights

According to JP Post, the Israeli government announced on Sunday that new legislation will be introduced to grant same-sex and common-law couples equal adoption rights.

This came after a petition by the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers and the Israel Religious Action Center. The Ministry of Welfare and social Affairs previously opposed allowing same-sex couples to adopt, reasoning that “same-sex parents put an additional burden on their adopted children”. However, they reversed the decision just one month ago.

Guardianship in Thailand is often necessary for disabled or incapacitate persons. The attorneys at Chaninat & Leeds can help.

The state said that the new legislation will be introduced by June 2018.

Riki Shapira, lead attorney for the Israel Religious Action Center, stated that “from now on same sex families, who deserve the right to adopt like any other family, will have that right”.

Read the full story here.

Image: Richard Proffitt

Chinese Sex Dolls Taken off the Market amid Controversy

According to BBC News, a company offering sex dolls for rent in Beijing was forced to stop operating after just two days due to complaints.

Touch offered a range of five dolls for rent at 298 Yuan (1,500 baht) per day. The range included a school girl, a nurse and a Wonder Woman doll.

However, just two days after launching, they halted the service. The decision came after controversy with the police as well as complaints from the public, who deemed their products “vulgar”.

Chaninat & Leeds’ experienced US immigration lawyers in Bangkok assist fiancées and married couples in reuniting in the USA.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Touch said that the company would in future pay more attention to its “social duty”, and would actively promote a “healthier and more harmonious sex lifestyle”.

Read the full story here

Image: Realistic Doll

Couple Arrested for Having Sex in Public Posted Videos to PornHub

According to the Smoking Gun, a married couple in Louisiana were recently arrested on obscenity charges after being caught having sex in a public library.

Rex and Elizabeth Jernigan have a habit of having intercourse in public places. They also performed sexual acts in a shopping mall, a Burger King and a Walmart. Each time, they filmed everything before posting the videos to their PornHub page, which contains a total of 160 videos and more than 4,000 subscribers.

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The pair were each charged with six counts of obscenity and released on bail. Upon release, Rex immediately took to PornHub, posting about what had happened. “To all my friends and followers, the wife and I just recently bailed out of jail for our public videos we posted on PornHub, hopefully soon we’ll get to post a new video”, he wrote.

Read the full story here.

Image: Michael Coghlan

Increased Reports of Rape and Sexual Assault Leading to Divorce in Iran

According to Reuters, there has been an increase in the divorce rate due to more women reporting being raped or sexual assaulted by their husbands.

The divorce rate has rocketed, having doubled in the last ten years.

Experts say this increase is a direct result of Iranian women’s growing confidence in speaking out against sexual assault. One woman attributed her abusive husband’s behavior to his fondness for the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.

“He was obsessed with the movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and tried to emulate the sexual methods of characters by using handcuffs and a mask”, said Sarah, 29.

Chaninat & Leeds are recognized and experienced Thailand child custody lawyers

Mehdrad Darvishpour, a sociology lecturer at Malardalen University in Sweden, says that cases like these can be prevented by implementing sex education. “The only source of information (men) have is porn movies, which portray women as a sexual tool”, he said. He added that they “expect the same in their lives, by treating their wives as sex slaves”.

Read the full story here. 

Image: Daniele Devoti

Social Development Ministry Gives Free Course for Thai Women with Foreign Husbands

According to the Chiang Rai Times, Thailand’s Social Development Ministry now offers a free course for Thai women who marry foreigners and move abroad.

The course teaches women about how to deal with culture shock, what their legal rights are, and how to seek help from Thai authorities if they need it.

Chaninat & Leeds’ attorneys assist Thai spouses with USA K3 Marriage visas.

“Our course will teach women how to conduct themselves, about the laws of their destination country, and how to prepare before going”, senior ministry official Patcharee Arayakul said, adding that the course would “reduce the risks of women being scammed or being a victim of human trafficking”.

Ralf Wacker, A German national whose wife took the course, said that the Thai government should offer something similar for Westerners. “If the Western man does not understand the family dynamics, this can cause a lot of problems”, he said.

Read the full story here

Related Articles: Prenuptial Agreements in Asia on the Rise

Image: Emilliana Borruto

Insects as a Staple Food in Thailand-Interview with AFFIA Co-Creator Nathan Preteseille

Would you eat cricket pasta?

AFFIA- Asian Food and Feed Insect Association is a Bangkok based association that promotes insects as “food and feed”.

According to their website, AFFIA’s main objective is to bring “industry and research stakeholders from the insects’ sector in a collaborative movement towards the development of entomoculture, entomophagy and their related activities.”

This video was sponsored by Chaninat & Leeds, Thailand’s leading family law firm