A divorce is not something that is very pleasant to go through, yet sometimes, a marriage simply doesn’t work out – and one is simply unable to cohabit along with their spouse peacefully.
How you can file for a Thai divorce, what kind of divorce lawyer you need and what requirements you have to be aware of, we will elaborate in this article.
A divorce is never easy
In case the marriage is between a Thai citizen and a foreigner, an important part of the initial procedure is to make sure that the marriage has been recognized in the home-country of the foreign spouse.
Has it been recognized, then you could face the same headache when it comes to divorce. Some countries don’t per se recognize a divorce in Thailand. This is something you should check up front. If you are unsure whether your home country or the home country of your spouse recognizes the divorce, feel free to contact our divorce attorneys to get free divorce legal advice.
There are 2 kinds of divorces in Thailand
There is the uncontested divorce – also called an administrative divorce, that is a mutual divorce agreement by both parties. This procedure is usually swift and straightforward. The only requirement is that both parties must be physically present. They are conducted at a local register such as Amphora, Amphoe or Khet.
If one spouse is a foreigner, they need to seek the advice of a divorce lawyer. Also, a bilingual agreement can be important for a Thai-Foreigner couple.
The contested divorce is where one of the parties holds their ground as to make divorce difficult by proving or trying to prove that a divorce is or is not eligible under Thai divorce law. Do note that each divorce is different, depending on the registration status of your marriage in Thailand. If you have a prenuptial, common assets with your wife, have children together, or if you both agree to divorce or not – all of this come into play when considering a divorce in Thailand.
There are 12 grounds to a divorce:
- One spouse (husband or wife) has given maintenance to, or honored such other person as wife or husband, committed adultery or had regular sexual intercourse with such other person, such other spouse may enter an action for divorce;
- One spouse is guilty of misconduct, notwithstanding whether such misconduct is a criminal offense or not, if it causes the other: (a) to be seriously ashamed; (b) to be insulted of hated or account of continuance of being husband or wife of the spouse having committed the misconduct; or (c) to sustain excessive injury or trouble where the condition, position and cohabitation as husband and wife are taken into consideration; the latter may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse has caused serious harm or torture to the body or mind of the other, or has seriously insulted the other or his or her ascendants, the latter may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse has deserted the other for more than one year, the latter may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse had been sentenced by a final judgment of the Court and has been imprisoned for more than one year in the offense committed without any participation, consent or in the knowledge of the other, and the cohabitation as husband and wife will cause the other party sustain excessive injury or trouble, the latter may enter a claim for divorce;
- The husband and wife voluntarily live separately because of being unable to cohabit peacefully for more than three years, or live separately for more than three years by the order of the Court, either spouse may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse has been adjudged to have disappeared, or as left his or her domicile or residence for more than three years and being uncertain whether he or she is living or dead;
- One spouse has failed to give proper maintenance and support to the other, or committed acts seriously adverse to the relationship of husband and wife to such an extent that the other has been in excessive trouble where the condition, position and cohabitation as husband and wife are taking into consideration, the latter may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse has been an insane person for more than three years continuously and such insanity is hardly curable so that the continuance of marriage cannot be expected, the other may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse has broken a bond of good behavior executed by him or her, the other spouse may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse is suffering from a communicable and dangerous disease which is incurable and may cause injury to the other, the latter may file a claim for divorce;
- One spouse has a physical disadvantage so as to be permanently unable to cohabit as husband and wife, the other may enter a claim for divorce.
If one or more of these requirements mentioned above are met, one can legally, and formally, apply for a contested divorce. One of the parties will have to fill a petition for divorce in family court. The other party needs to be served with papers. After the first hearing, both parties will be sent to mediation, and if the parties can come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce, the agreement will be submitted to the court for their signature.
However, if the parties do not come to an agreement, the case will be set for trial with witnesses and testimony. After the trial, the court will render its own judgement on the divorce within 30 days.
The court process is very difficult and it is recommended that the parties have an experience divorce attorney to represent them.
Under Thai law, you should have 2 witnesses to sign the divorce agreement. Both witnesses don’t need to be present at the same time, but they have to acknowledge who and what they are signing for.
Another reason for a contested divorce is when the marriage hasn’t been registered in Thailand, but the couple has been residing in Thailand, or working there for a reasonable length of time.
What to do when there are children involved?
Now, another step in the procedure happens if there are children involved in the marriage. Family law can be a complicated matter as it seldom is clear who should get child custody. Your best approach is to seek the advice of one of our divorce attorneys, that is specialized in family law. For further information about this topic, you can also refer to our earlier entry about child custody on our website.
With Harwell Legal, you are on the safe side
As you can see, a divorce in Thailand can be a very complicated matter, and in that regard, it is important to be certain about your standpoint and how to get through the process the most proper way.
Our team of divorce lawyers will make sure that this unpleasant task is done in a fast, safe and clean procedure.
If you should have any other questions regarding divorce law, family law, dissolutions and the like, feel free to contacting us.
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