A marriage must be registered in Thailand. Divorce, too, has certain rules that must be followed. The following information will outline the process so it is more understandable. If you and your spouse wish to divorce and can settle amicably, you will file an uncontested divorce. This means that you do not have any issues that must be settled before a judgment is made. This type of divorce is also called a divorce by mutual consent.
However, if you have disputed issues, such as spousal support, child care, and the allocation of property, you must file a contested divorce. Whichever type of divorce you end up filing, you need to each retain a competent legal advisor – an attorney who is well versed in all aspects of family law, including divorce, prenuptial agreements, and property division. Don’t try to go it alone when filing for divorce, as this type of case is highly emotional. Instead, depend on the advice of competent legal advisors. Doing so will give you the confidence you need to proceed with your divorce without future misunderstandings.
Dividing and Allocating Property
In Thailand, marital property is referred to as sin somros. It is divided between the parties equally. Personal property, or sin suan tua, stays in the hands of each individual. Therefore, the marital property is anything a couple acquires during their marriage that comes by purchase, a gift, or inheritance. Personal property, on the other hand, is anything each individual obtained before they were married. This may include personal possessions, equipment, real estate, or tools.
When it comes to obligations, both parties must accept responsibility for any debts that relate to education or medical expenses. To make sure there are no disputes along these lines, it is always good to establish a prenuptial agreement before marriage.
This agreement should be registered at the same time as the marriage is recorded. If you have a good deal of property, it is always a good idea to have a prenuptial agreement in force. To be considered legal, the prenup must be tendered, as noted, at the same time the marriage is registered and must be witnessed by two qualified people. Most of the prenups that are signed are between Thai residents and their foreign partners.
If one of the partners is employed during the divorce process, the property will be divided equally. For example, if the wife stays at home and takes care of the house and children, she has a right, by Thai law, to receive half of the marital property. This is true, even if she does not receive compensation. The couple that is divorcing agrees on who will pay for the daily living costs and maintenance of the children, as well as who will foot the bill for their education.
Filing for an Uncontested Divorce
It is basically easy to end a marriage if you both agree to divorce. All you need to do is register at your local district office. This office is referred to as an Amphoe in the provinces or a Khet in Bangkok. This is the office where you registered your marriage. The division of property and the custody of the children are recorded on the certificate of divorce. If not on the certificate, this information is included on a settlement agreement that is affixed to the certificate. You can complete the process in a day.
If you cannot come to some type of agreement, you need to retain legal services and take the matter to the court. In abusive relationships, the spouse who is at fault often tries to stop the divorce or impose demands that cannot be met for the dissolution. Therefore, a badly abused spouse can be coerced into signing a settlement if he or she does not have court intervention. Be prepared, if the divorce is contested, to go through the process for six months to a year.
If the divorce is non-mutual, the spouse who seeks the divorce needs to petition the court to permit the settlement. The lawsuit is based on the grounds for divorce, as they are stated in Section 1516 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code.
Establishing the Grounds for Divorce
When establishing grounds, the following must happen:
- One spouse should publicly claim that the other person is his or her spouse and that they committed the act of adultery.
- One of the spouses must be guilty of behavior that caused the other party great shame or damage to their reputation. This activity may be a criminal or a similar event.
- One of the parties must have caused serious emotional harm to the other party. Either that or they seriously insulted their spouse or the spouse’s ancestors or ascendants.
- One of the spouses deserted the marriage for over a year.
- One of the spouses is being sentenced, through a final court judgment, as being imprisoned for over a year, without the consent or knowledge of the other party.
- The couple has been voluntarily living separately for over three years, or have been living this way by order of the court.
- One spouse has been missing for over 3 years.
- One of the parties has failed to provide proper support and maintenance to the other party or has behaved in a way that is detrimental to the marriage relationship.
- One of the spouses has been declared insane for three continuous years.
- One spouse has broken the bond of good behavior or has broken a written promise that shows he or she has done something that is wrong or immoral.
- One of the parties is suffering from a dangerous or communicable illness that cannot be cured.
- One of the spouses has a permanent physical condition that keeps him or her from having conjugal relations.
If you plan to file a divorce in Thailand, it is recommended to contact a Thai attorney to help you with your case. Find out what you need to do to settle the divorce amicably and reasonably.