July 25, 2024

Thailand Divorce Law

Q: What is the difference between an Uncontested and Contested Divorce in Thailand?

A: If both spouses agree to the divorce, the divorce is referred to as an uncontested divorce or a consensual divorce.

If you married in Thailand and registered your marriage at a local district office in Thailand (Khet or Amphur) you may register an administrative Thailand divorce. Performing an administrative divorce at the local district office requires that you and your spouse do not have disagreements over child custody or assets. Therefore, in marriage where there are children or assets involved, a written agreement is normally advised. At the district office, couples must fill out Thailand divorce forms detailing the terms of divorce and other matters for their Attorney. The divorce must be certified by two witnesses. A translator is also required if either or both parties do not understand Thai language. All forms and documents are completed in Thai language.

If the spouses cannot agree to the terms of the divorce, the divorce is referred to as a contested divorce. Contested divorces are handled in the Thai Courts. In order to proceed with a divorce in this instance one party, known as the plaintiff, will need to assert grounds for divorce if the contested divorce cannot be settled by agreement prior to the court’s taking evidence, then the plaintiff must appear in court to testify to establish the grounds for divorce.

Q: In the case of a contested divorce, what are grounds for divorce in Thailand?

A:* A 3 year period of separation

*One spouse has deserted the other for over one year

* The husband has taken another woman as his wife

* The wife has committed adultery

*One spouse is guilty of misconduct (criminal or otherwise)

*One spouse has been imprisoned for more than one year

*One spouse has physically or mentally harmed the other

* Lack of marital support

*One spouse has had incurable insanity for at least 3 years

*One spouse has broken the bond of good behavior

*One spouse has an incurable communicable disease

*One spouse has a physical disability so as to be unable to cohabitate as husband and wife.

Foreign Nationals and Thailand Divorce Law

In general, foreign nationals may obtain divorce in Thailand so long as they can establish minimum residency requirements in Thailand. If the couple married in Thailand, the Thai court, absent other considerations, will normally accept jurisdiction of the divorce case in Thailand. However, cases need to be examined on an individual basis.

If the divorcing couple did not marry in Thailand, and in most circumstances, they do not qualify for an administrative uncontested divorce at the District Office (Khet or Amphoe). However, provided they meet other requirements, a divorce may be applied for through the Thai courts, and grounds for divorce must be stated in the complaint (see the grounds above). However, cases need to be examined on an individual basis.

Thailand Marriage Law

Q: What are the Steps for Foreigners to Marry in Thailand?

A: Foreigners who wish to marry in Thailand must complete the following steps:

1) Foreigners (non-Thai nationals) must obtain an affidavit of freedom to marry which states their names and personal details such as citizenship, divorce or marital status and legal ability to marry pursuant to their national law. This is obtained from the Embassy or the foreign national’s country. Different embassies have different procedures for providing this affidavit of freedom to marry – make certain to check with the embassy for your home country in Bangkok to receive particulars.

2) This affidavit will have to be translated into Thai and legalized pursuant to Thai law.

3) When all the documents are in place, the administrative marriage can then be performed at the Thai district offices known as ‘Amphur’ or ‘Khet’.

Q: How long does an administrative marriage in Thailand take?

A: Once the affidavits are obtained from the embassy, having those documents translated and legalized, and having the marriage performed at a local Amphur, the process can be completed but normally requires 3-4 working days. Different or stricter requirements for certain nations’ embassies may make the process take a longer time.

Q: Is it legal to marry in Thailand as a Foreigner?

A: Yes. In Thailand, it is legal for foreigners to marry either Thai citizens or other foreign nationals provided that requirements are met. A marriage in Thailand is a legal marriage under Thai law and is normally recognized throughout the world.

Is it possible to celebrate a religious or formal wedding ceremony in Thailand?

Formal or religious ceremonies can also be held in Thailand. However, they are not recognized by the Thai government as legal marriages.

Q: Can Foreigners Handle the Paperwork Themselves?

A: Foreign nationals may choose to handle paperwork themselves, or may hire a legal office or attorney to assist. Many persons choose to hire a law firm to assist to make the process easier and faster. If a prenuptial agreement is involved, the agreement should be prepared by a qualified attorney. The attorney responsible for the prenuptial agreement should also register the marriage, as there are special procedures involved.

Q: Is a Thai marriage recognized internationally?

A: Yes. A Thai marriage is accepted by the vast majority of civilized nations in the world under the principle of reciprocity. However, foreigners may choose to either register their Thai marriage with their home country of have their Thai marriage documents certified by their Embassy in Thailand to provide additional evidence of the marriage.

Thailand Prenuptial Agreement

Q: Do I need a prenuptial agreement?

A: With divorce rates as high as 50% in some areas, many persons contemplating marriage consider a prenuptial agreement to be an intelligent financial investment. Without a prenuptial agreement, any division of assets, maintenance or alimony payments ordered pursuant to a divorce will be decided pursuant to the relevant law, rather than personal choice.

Q: How secure is a Thai prenuptial agreement?

A: A Thai prenuptial agreement is registered with the Thai government at the time of marriage. Thai courts, in divorce cases will generally follow a lawful Thailand prenuptial agreement. Lawful Thai prenuptial agreements are upheld by Thai courts as a routine matter. Family courts in Western or Common law jurisdictions are more likely to strike down a prenuptial agreement based on legal or equitable grounds than a Thai court. However, a prenuptial agreement may be upheld in court outside f Thailand depending on the law of that nation.

Q: What is the difference between a Thailand prenuptial agreement and one drafted in my home country?

A: One of the main differences is that, according to Thai law, a prenuptial agreement is registered with the Thai government before the marriage takes place. In the US and other common law countries, a prenuptial agreement is generally a private agreement between parties and is not registered with the government.

Thailand Family Lawyers

Q: Does it matter if I get married in Thailand or my home country?

A: In the event that the marriage ends in divorce, the location where the marriage was registered will help decide where divorce proceedings are held and what nation or state’s law is applied. International divorces raise complex issues regarding what nation or state’s court has jurisdiction and what national law is applied to the case. Asset protection should be considered at the prenuptial stage of the marriage.

Individuals have different priorities and objectives when marrying, however, and must decide which type of arrangement might fit their needs best. Consultation with a qualified attorney is advised.

Q: Can I specify property, financial, and child support divisions in my Thailand prenuptial agreement?

A: Under Thai law, you may be able to specify the division, categories and control of marital assets. Assets may be classified as community property and separate property. You can also specify how finances will be managed during the marriage. However, restrictions on the amount child support and alimony are generally not followed.

Related Documents:

• Thailand Prenuptial Agreement

• International Prenuptial Agreements :
New York
• International Prenuptial Agreements Conflict of Law to US

Thailand Child Custody

Q: What kinds of child custody issues are handled by Thailand courts?

A: Thailand Family Courts may decide on the following issues:

• Granting custody to one parent
• Modifying custody orders
• Establishing legal custody rights
• Child support
• Child visitation rights
• Joint custody
• Termination of custodial rights

Q: How is paternity law involved in Thailand child custody law?

A: According to Thailand law, both parents of a child have full custodial rights, be the parents married or unmarried. Legal issues often surround the finding of a father’s rights to a child, or “paternity”. Thailand law requires that a father be the “legal” parent, as well as the biological parent, to have father’s rights. This procedure is called establishing Thailand paternity rights. It is important for fathers to realize that merely being the child’s biological parent does not normally qualify a father for partial or full custody rights to a child.

Q: How are a father’s legal rights established?

A: Father’s rights are established as a finding of legal paternity. Legal paternity differs from mere biological fatherhood. Cases can be filed by a biological father seeking father’s rights, or by a mother, seeking child support from the biological father.

Q: Are social workers used in child custody disputes?

A: Since issues concerning child welfare are considered to be central to ruling on child custody matters, Family Courts provide special procedures to examine the social, psychological and health issues involved in the child’s best interest.
The Observation and Protection Center is appointed by the Thai Family Court to perform a social study of the case prior to trial. Normally both parents and the child will be requested to appear for interview.

Thailand Family Lawyers

Q: How do Thailand courts protect children and families?

 Child custody cases are handled on a routine basis in Thailand Family Courts. The main consideration used by the courts in determining custody is what is in the best interest of the child. Accordingly the behavior of the parents and child development issues are analyzed closely by the Thai court.

Thailand Paternity Rights

paternity rights thailandThailand law requires that paternity be established either by marriage to the mother prior to the mother giving birth to the child or, through court action. In certain limited circumstances, paternity can also be obtained by an administration legal process. In this regard, a man may be the biological father and have established a relationship with his child, but without having met the necessary legal requirements, may lack the legal rights of a lawful father over his child.

Q: Why are paternity rights important?

A: Paternity rights can be extremely important in court cases deciding child custody or child support issues. A father may decide to move to establish Thailand paternity rights in order to gain partial or full custody over a child. A mother may move to establish the paternity of a father in order to gain child support payments. On the other hand, in some cases, men seek to defend against being ruled as a legal father, and would therefore fight against a paternity case.

Q: What is Thailand paternity law?

A: In summary, a child born to parents that are married to each other is considered the legitimate child of the husband and wife. A child born out of wedlock is, in general, considered the legitimate child of the mother. Accordingly, a birth mother’s legal rights are automatic but the father’s rights are not. A common misconception is that a father’s name on a birth certificate establishes paternal rights, but this claim is incorrect.

Q: Do foreign parents of Thai children have paternity rights?

A: For children born in Thailand, the law for foreign fathers is basically the same as it applies to paternity rights of a Thai father. In order to have rights to one’s child, the father must either be married to the mother or file for paternity rights. In international cases, issues of conflict of laws may arise, and foreign law may become relevant.

Q: What about adoption?

A: In the course of the adoption process, the legal rights of the adoptive parents to a child are established via adoption procedures. The Thailand Adoption process is often used by spouses who are not the biological or birth parents of their spouse’s child.

Q: Is citizenship important?

A: A Foreign parent may establish that their children born to Thai national spouse are citizens of the foreign spouse’s home country. In establishing citizenship, each nation usually will have its own legal requirements. This is normally done through the relevant embassy in Thailand. Careful consideration should be given to establishing dual citizenship of bi-national children, as it can have far-reaching effects.

Thailand Family Lawyers

Q: How is paternity proven in Thailand outside of marriage?

Establishing paternity outside of marriage involves filing court petition and obtaining a court order. Establishing paternity rights of the foreign father, pursuant to foreign (non-Thai) law may have different procedures. Each country has its own nationality and citizenship law. Foreigners residing in Thailand normally carry out this procedure through their embassy.