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Divorce FAQs

Types of Divorce in Thailand

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

2. What are the requirements for registering an administrative divorce in Thailand?

3. What are the requirements for a court divorce in Thailand?

Divorce Agreements and Settlements in Thailand

1. What is a Thailand divorce settlement agreement?

2. How Can a Divorce Agreement Be Used in Thailand?

Marital Property Division in Thailand

How are assets, property and debts divided under Thailand divorce law?

Child Custody

1. How are Thailand Child Custody cases decided by Thai law?

2. How are Thailand Child Support cases decided by Thai law?

3. How are Thailand Paternity cases decided by Thai law?

Issues of Alimony and Maintenance

Do I have to pay alimony in Thailand?

International Recognition of Thailand Divorce

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

Grounds for Divorce

What are grounds for a Thailand divorce?

Issues of Jurisdiction for a Thailand Divorce

1. Can I get a Thailand divorce if I am not a Thai national?

2. If either my spouse or I are living outside of Thailand, can we get a Thailand divorce?

Practical Considerations for Thailand Divorce

1. How much will it cost to file a divorce in Thailand?

2. Can I enforce a divorce settlement if my spouse dies?

3. How do I get a divorce process started in Thailand?

4. Do I have to pay alimony in Thailand?

5. If I married in Thailand, do I need to appear before the same District Office (Amphur or Khet) where I was married to obtain a divorce in Thailand?

Types of Divorce in Thailand
 
1. What is the difference between a Thailand divorce registered at the District office and a Thailand court divorce?
 
One type of consensual divorce in Thailand is an administrative divorce registration at a government District office. Nevertheless, it is also possible to have a consensual divorce through the Thailand family court process provided that the parties agree the case is filed.
 
2. What are the requirements for registering an administrative divorce in Thailand?
 
If you and your spouse previously registered your marriage at a local district office in Thailand (Khet or Amphur) you may register for administrative Thailand divorce. An administrative divorce at the local district office is a divorce registration process and no judge or court is involved. Normally the administrative divorce registration process requires that you and your spouse have no disagreements over child custody or property (hence, this is why such a proceeding is considered "an uncontested divorce").
 
3. What are the requirements for a court divorce in Thailand?
 
If one or both spouse does not agree to the terms of the divorce, the divorce is referred to as a contested divorce.  Contested divorces are handled in the Thai Courts rather than through an administrative procedure at the District Office (Khet or Amphur). Rather than a divorce registration, a court orders a divorce agreement.
 
Divorce Agreements and Settlements in Thailand
 
1. What is a Thailand divorce settlement agreement?

General Considerations for Divorce Agreements in Thailand

A divorce agreement, also known as a divorce settlement agreement, is a contract drawn between a divorcing couple that determines issues concerning the divorce such as: the division of shared property, child custody, visitation, alimony, and other marital issues. In general, in a court divorce case the parties may negotiate a settlement agreement rather than pursue a full-on court divorce and wait for and accept a court judgment. In an uncontested administrative divorce at the Khet or Amphur the persons divorcing may also enter into a divorce agreement and have it made part of the official record.

2. How Can a Divorce Agreement Be Used in Thailand?

In the event of a divorce, a divorce agreement is signed by both parties in front of witnesses, and then can be made part of the court record or administrative record in an uncontested divorce. The court will then normally issue a judgment that approves the divorce agreement. Once the document has been signed, witnessed, and made part of the official record, it can be relied on in the future to decide the outcome of possible disputes over issues mentioned in the settlement. However, in regard to certain issues, one party may allege a breach of the Agreement, or a “Change of Circumstances” that may require that the Agreement be modified or changed.

Marital Property Division in Thailand

How are assets, property and debts divided under Thailand divorce law?

Thailand is a "Community Property" jurisdiction. When a couple divorces in Thailand, Separate Property (Sin Suan Tua), namely assets and property acquired before marriage, generally remains the property of the owner. Assets and property acquired during marriage are generally considered Community Property (Sin Som Rot) with both spouses having an ownership right.

However, although this basic description of separate and community property seems simple, there are numerous exceptions and qualifications. There are, for example, special rules concerning real estate. Also, Conflict of Law rules may apply when the divorcing persons reside outside of Thailand, have property outside of Thailand, or have entered into a marriage or prenuptial agreement outside of Thailand.  The rules regarding division of property are complex and the Thai Courts will divide the property according to the law and individual facts of the case.

Debts incurred during the marriage, whether they are household, medical, or educational, are in general the responsibility of both parties.

Child Custody FAQs

1.  How are Thailand Child Custody cases decided by Thai law?

Child custody disputes between parents can arise in the course of a divorce case, between unmarried parents and even between spouses who choose to remain married. According to Thailand law, both lawful parents of a child have full custodial rights. However, legal issues often surround the finding of paternity. In other words, Thailand law requires that a father be the “legal” parent, as well as the biological parent, to have father’s rights. Women, on the other hand, when they are the birth mother are considered by Thai law to be the lawful parent without additional court or administrative processes.

Child Custody

2.How are Thailand Child Support cases decided by Thai law?

The issue of child support frequently arises in family court cases. Child support disputes may arise in divorce cases in disputes between non-married parents and even in cases between married couples who are not seeking divorce, but only have a dispute regarding financial issues. Most often, the mother of a child will be filing the legal complaint against the biological father for child support. However, it is also possible for a father with custodial rights of a child to seek child support from the mother of the child.

3. How are Thailand Paternity cases decided by Thai law?

In Thailand, paternity rights are established either by marriage to the mother, through court action or government registration. 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 to his child.

Paternity

Alimony and Maintenance

Do I have to pay alimony in Thailand?

Alimony often referred to as “maintenance” 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. Nevertheless, alimony financial amounts are normally significantly less than would be ordered by Western courts in similar circumstances. In consensual administrative divorces, alimony is required if the parties make an agreement that includes alimony.

International Recognition of Thailand Divorce

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

Normally, divorces granted in other jurisdictions or other nations are recognized pursuant to the principle of comity. In other words, recognizing the divorce order based on respect for other nations legislations. In cases of divorce, respecting a divorce order from other countries would mean a divorcing couple would need to divorce in separate procedure in every country they travel or have associated with. However there are also very specific government rules that explicitly recognize foreign divorces. Please see for example: UK Visas and Immigration settlement application guidance on overseas divorces and US Department of State on divorce abroad

Grounds for Divorce

What are grounds for a Thailand divorce?

Grounds are legal reasons for divorce required by Thailand law in order to file a complaint for divorce in Thailand courts.  A court divorce action differs from consensual or uncontested divorces in that both parties in an uncontested divorce agree on all issues, whereas a court divorce is contested and the parties do not agree on the terms of the divorce   Also, court divorces in Thailand must be based on grounds for divorce. There are also jurisdictional requirements that differ between an uncontested administrative divorce and a court divorce that relate to the residency of the parties involved, the location where the marriage took place, and the location where the grounds for divorce supposedly occurred.

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

Issues of Jurisdiction for a Thailand Divorce

1. Can I get a Thailand divorce if I am not a Thai national?

Generally speaking, any person living in Thailand may file for a court divorce in Thailand so long as one of the individuals in question is lawfully present in Thailand, has established residency in Thailand and the divorce action meets other requirements, such as valid grounds for divorce.

If the parties in question lawfully married in Thailand, and desire an uncontested divorce, the couple may obtain an administrative divorce at the District Office (“Khet” or “Amphur”) where they married.

If the divorcing couple did not marry in Thailand, they do not, in most circumstances, qualify for an administrative uncontested divorce at the District Office (Khet or Amphoe). Provided they meet other requirements, a divorce may be applied for through the Thai courts, and grounds for divorce must be stated.

Various exceptions to the above rules exist. A Thai national who originally married a foreign spouse outside of Thailand, but wishes to pursue an uncontested divorce within Thailand may do so under limited conditions.

2. If either my spouse or I are living outside of Thailand, can we get a Thailand divorce?

If the divorce is uncontested both parties will need to appear at the Amphur office to register the divorce.  If the divorce is contested, then either the person filing the complaint (the “Plaintiff”) or the respondent (the “Defendant) must have a lawful presence in Thailand and have residence in Thailand (or there must be some other jurisdictional requirement met for filing in Thailand). If a plaintiff is living outside of Thailand, a lawyer can file a divorce claim on their behalf.  However, the person applying for the divorce in the Thai courts must normally appear in person in the Thai courts to provide basic evidence.

If the defendant spouse (the “Respondent”) is not present or will not return to Thailand or appear in Court to defend the divorce, a person seeking divorce may still be able to proceed provided that the defendant spouse has been provided proper legal notice of the divorce action. Service must be applied through a Thai court if your spouse is not in Thailand and a substitute service may be allowed in certain circumstances.  If a Defendant spouse does not respond to service from the court it may be possible for the divorce, based on certain conditions, to proceed based on a judgement.

Practical Considerations for Thailand Divorce

1. How much will it cost to file a divorce in Thailand?

Consensual divorces without a divorce agreement through the administrative process at Thailand district offices are usually the least expensive option. Unfortunately not all married couples qualify for a consensual divorce. Court divorces are more expensive due to process requiring more time, document preparation and trial work. Attorney rates vary, however, depending on the lawyer involved.

2. Can I enforce a divorce settlement if my spouse dies?

If an ex-spouse dies after a court judgment awarding the other ex-spouse financial court award, the judgment will normally have to be paid by the deceased ex-spouse’s estate. Normally, estates in Thailand must be administered pursuant to a court process. However, it may often be necessary for the aggrieved ex-spouse to file a claim in the court litigated estate case as a judgment creditor.

3. How do I get a divorce process started in Thailand?

You should first determine whether you are eligible for a divorce in Thailand. If you were married in Thailand pursuant to a lawful marriage registration at a government district office, then you have the option of a consensual administrative divorce. However, if your spouse does not agree to a divorce or you were not married in Thailand you may still be possibly eligible to divorce in Thailand. Contact a qualified family law attorney in Thailand for consultation and/or assistance.

4. Do I have to pay alimony in Thailand?

Alimony often referred to as “maintenance” 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. Nevertheless, alimony financial amounts are normally significantly less than would be ordered by Western courts in similar circumstances. In consensual administrative divorces, alimony is required if the parties make an agreement that includes alimony.

5. If I married in Thailand, do I need to appear before the same District Office (Amphur or Khet) where I was married to obtain a divorce in Thailand?

In general, if you legally married in Thailand you can register your divorce at any District Office (“Khet or Amphur”)(provided the requirements are met). "Khet" is the legal term used for district offices within Bangkok.  District Offices outside of Bagkok are referred to as "Amphur offices".

Although administrative offices (Khet or Amphur) will process uncontested divorces for qualifying persons, there are a number of document requirements. Also, in some circumstances a court order may be preferable to an administrative divorce obtained at a district office.  For example some jurisdictions outside of Thailand may require court orders of child custody, rather than administrative records, to allow for reciprocal enforcement or lawful recognition of the court order.

 
     
 

(Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. No warranty is expressed or implied.
Before taking any legal action, persons are advise

d to seek the advice of a lawyer qualified in the area of law concerned.)

     
 

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