Divorce in Thailand

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Contested Divorce
What is the difference between a Contested Divorce and Uncontested Divorce in Thailand?

Uncontested divorce is a marriage termination by mutual consent.  Contested divorce is when one or both spouse does not agree with the terms of the separation or has broken the marriage agreement. While a couple may agree to divorce, things could become complicated. Parties may contest on some important conjugal matters such as child custody and sharing of properties.

What are the grounds for divorce?

– Adultery

-Misconduct

-Seriously harmed or tortured the body or mind of the other

-Desertion for more than 1 year

-Imprisonment of one spouse for more than 1 year

-The spouses have voluntarily lived separately for more than 3 years

-Disappearance for more than 3 years

-Failure to give proper maintenance and support to the other

-Insanity for more than 3 years continuously and such insanity is hardly curable so that the continuance of marriage is no longer possible

-Broken a bond of good behaviour executed by him or her

-One spouse is suffering from a communicable and dangerous incurable disease and may cause injury to the other

-Physical disadvantage to be permanently unable to cohabit as husband and wife

What are the advantages of uncontested divorce in Thailand?

The procedure is typically faster and cheaper as there is no need for a representation in court. This allows to preserve both parties’ privacy. There is less emotional stress involved to both parties, as well as to their children and respective families as it enables the couple to end their marriage in a civilized manner. You lose control of the divorce process once a judge turns over to decide. The judge may come up with an arrangement that neither of you will be comfortable with. He may also come up with a property settlement where you lose things that were more valuable to you.

How do we file an uncontested divorce in Thailand?

Uncontested divorce is possible only if the couple has no disagreements over children or property. Filing for uncontested divorce is as simple as registering your marriage. You can complete the process in one day at the local district office. 

There is no need to have a ground for divorce.  The couple’s mutual decision to end the marriage is enough.This must be in writing with at least two witnesses. You need to present all relevant documents, complete the proper forms, and answer important questions then the Registrar Office will issue a divorce certificate.

This type of divorce only applies if the couple married in Thailand. Marriages outside the Thai jurisdiction who wishes to file for a divorce in Thailand shall have to go through the court system.

What must our divorce agreement contain?

A settlement or divorce agreement has provisions about the terms of sharing of assets, child custody and support, alimony, and other important matters. It is best that you decide these matters beforehand and formalize them in a divorce contract. This will guarantee that there are no disagreements before you go to the registration office. The divorce registration will specify the details of the divorce conditions.

In case of uncontested divorce, can my lawyer appear on my behalf?

No. Each party must physically present themselves to make a personal declaration before the officer of their intention to divorce.

Who shall determine the concerns about maintenance of children upon divorce?

In case of divorce by mutual consent, the Divorce Contract will contain the arrangement as to who, both of the spouses or either spouse, will contribute to the maintenance of the children and how much is the contribution.

In case of divorce by judgment of the Court or in case the Divorce Agreement has no provisions about the children’s maintenance, the Court shall determine it.

How are marital property and debts shared between the parties? 

Marital property is anything acquired during the course of marriage by way of gift, purchase, or inheritance. Personal property is anything acquired before the marriage. When a couple divorces in Thailand, there will be equal division of all marital properties. Personal property remains to the individual. If both parties agree to the terms, then the proceedings are not complicated. However, if the couple cannot agreeably settle the distribution issues, the court will have to resolve the issues based on Thai laws.  Furthermore, common debts incurred shall be of equal liability between the couple upon termination of the marriage.

When does a contested and uncontested divorce case take effect?

If the marriage was legally registered, divorce by mutual consent takes effect from the time of registration. If all documentation is in order, then you can complete the divorce and its registration in one day.

Divorce by judgment of the Court takes effect on and from the time when the judgment becomes final. However, such judgment may not be set up to the prejudice to the rights of third persons acting in good faith unless the divorce has been duly registered.

Is it possible to change from a contested divorce to uncontested divorce in Thailand?

Yes.  The filing or both parties may withdraw the contested divorce case anytime and file an uncontested divorce instead.