July 17, 2018

New Republican Tax Plan Unintentionally Encourages Divorces Sooner than Later

The Republican tax bill signed into law by Donald Trump late last year will eliminate a tax break for alimony payments finalized after December 31, 2018–meaning people contemplating divorce should act fast if they want to deduct those monthly payments from their end-of-year taxes.

Agreements signed in 2018 will still be eligible for the annual alimony tax deductions, in perpetuity.

According to the New York Times, this has led financial planners and lawyers to advise their rich friends, who are thinking about untying the knot, to do it stat.

And the incentive for a wealthy couple consisting of one person earning far more than the other is clear and obvious. Rather than paying 15 to 20 years of support to an ex-spouse, if they divorce now, they can simply write it off of their income at the end of the year, then calculate their income tax from there, saving beaucoups of cash from what is a very generous tax break for wealthy individuals.

Put simply, high-earners will have to pay their ex-spouses a lot more, without being able to deduct it.

Currently, 600,000 divorced Americans deduct alimony from their taxes–20% of which come from the wealthiest top 5% in the US.

Read the full story here.

For Thailand attorneys specializing in divorce proceedings and settlements, contact the experts at Chaninat & Leeds.

Non-Israeli Jewish Women Can Now Seek a Divorce in Rabbinical Courts

The Israeli government recently passed a bill that would allow foreign-born Jewish women to divorce their husbands, even when the husband refuses to grant the divorce.

The new law seeks to help Jewish women who have been refused a religious bill of divorce from their husband that keeps them from remarrying.

According to Jewish law, women cannot divorce a man unless he allows it. Now, foreign-born Jewish women will be able to petition rabbinical courts for a divorce, regardless if the man objects.

However, the new government-sponsored divorce law does not add any legal considerations to custody battles or financial agreements.

Read the full story here.

For legal counsel involving divorce cases in Thailand, contact an experienced Thai divorce attorney today.

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.

For help regarding family law or immigration needs in Thailand, contact experienced professionals.

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.



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

Portugal to Revamp Divorce Laws

The laws have been untouched for more than 50 years

Portugal is set to make changes to the country’s divorce laws including lessening the amount of time couples are required to wait in order to remarry.

According to The Portugal News, the current law requires males to wait 180 days after termination of the marriage to remarry whereas women are required to wait 300 days.

The tenth month delay was introduced as the law states that a women’s husband at the time of conception is automatically the father of a child.

Portugal is one of the few countries that require couples to wait before remarrying. Thailand divorce law does not mandate a waiting period for remarriage. Couples can remarry immediately after getting divorced.

Read more here

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