February 14, 2024

Filing of Divorce in Thailand

If spouses are in disagreement on certain conjugal matters like child custody and property division, a divorce proceeding can become contested. This type of divorce is handled by the Thai courts.

If both parties are agreeable to the divorce then registering a divorce on mutual consent at the local Amphur office is a simple affair.

1. Consult a Lawyer

It is always best to consult with an experienced lawyer if you are considering filing for divorce. A lawyer can assist you in understanding Thai law and provide you with legal advice adapted to your specific situation.

It might be beneficial to consider entering into a separation or a prenuptial agreement before legally terminating your marriage. A prenuptial agreement may prevent future disputes regarding property and child custody.

A foreigner can also choose to obtain an administrative divorce through the District office if they both agree to end their marriage. Those who wish to use this method must present a translated copy of their passport and two witnesses. It is important to note that this method of getting a divorce is not recognised by many countries.

2. File a Petition

If your spouse agrees to the divorce and you have no disagreements over child custody, property or assets you can apply for an administrative Thailand divorce at the district office where your marriage was registered. However, if you and your spouse have any disagreements it is necessary to file a contested divorce.

The court must approve the final divorce decree in order to legally end your marriage in Thailand. Any undisputed issues must be settled during mediation or in the formal court hearing.

In a contested divorce one spouse can seek to have alimony paid from the other spouse, which is only applicable in cases where alimony is agreed upon between the parties or awarded by the court. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can assist with negotiating an alimony settlement agreement or filing for a judgment if necessary.

3. Attend a Hearing

In a divorce where both parties agree on matters such as division of assets, custody of children and if and how much alimony will be paid they can file for an administrative or uncontested divorce at the local district office (Khet or Amphur). This is a preferable process as it is shorter, less expensive and more convenient.

However, it should be noted that this type of divorce is only available for marriages registered in Thailand and may not be recognized by other countries. A contested divorce involves going to court and requires one of the grounds for divorce listed in Thai law including 3 years’ separation, adultery or more than one year desertion. The contested divorce also includes a judge who decides on all issues.

4. File a Counter-Petition

If you disagree with any of your spouse’s requests, or have your own specific allegations against them, you must file a counter-petition. This is like a counter lawsuit against them, and allows you to state your own allegations in front of the judge.

The court will look at the grounds of your divorce in Thailand and any contested issues regarding property division. You can avoid a contested divorce by having a pre-prepared divorce settlement agreement drawn up by your lawyer.

In addition to your agreement on assets and properties, it is also advisable to keep a record of all personal property (sin suan tua), as this can help you in the event of a dispute during a Thai divorce proceedings. Separate property that was acquired before marriage remains the sole property of the owner.

5. Receive a Judgment

In Thailand, divorce is generally uncontested if spouses agree on all issues associated with the divorce including division of assets, property and children (if any). The laws in Thailand are based on community property. This means that all assets and property obtained during the marriage are considered shared property while personal property acquired before marriage remains owned by the individual.

Contested divorces are appropriate in situations where there is disagreement on certain conjugal matters like child custody and the sharing of properties. In these instances, it may be necessary to take the case to court and have a judge evaluate the matter and issue a judgment. This could make the process significantly more complicated and costly. This is particularly true if you and your spouse have substantial assets.

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