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Prenuptial Agreement in Thailand

Prenuptial Agreement or Antenuptial Agreement is a written contract between two people anticipating marriage.  It normally lists and specifies the following:

1. properties each person owns

2. the rights and obligations of the parties

3. finance management during the course of marriage

4. what each person’s property rights if the marriage terminates either by death, divorce or cancelled by court.

Who generally needs a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreement may sound odd because most couples are not open to discuss money matters, property ownership or even possibilities of separation. However, these agreements are fairly common and essential especially if either or both parties have substantial assets, valuables, stocks, inheritances, bonds or collectibles that he or she wants to keep as separate property; or both parties want to clarify financial obligations to a parent or a child from a previous marriage and even extensive debts that they will bring into their marriage.

Why is it important?

A prenuptial agreement sets the financial arrangements and agreements between couples before marriage. They can openly discuss future concerns about money, work, children, home, and any other mutual issues.  Both can keep personal properties and financial assets they owned before marriage. By doing this, it can prevent dispute over assets in the future.  By setting forth a formal agreement, there is an assurance of proper disposal of valuables according to their intentions. This will make both be aware on what to expect in the event of marriage dissolution.

Can it protect us and our assets from being liable to an extensive debts incurred before our marriage?

Under Thai law, you can use this agreement to protect the assets of the other spouse from seizure to satisfy all separate debts incurred before the marriage. Without it, your future spouse’s liability and negative credit history can become your own. As a result, creditors can go after the marital property even though only one spouse is the debtor.

How does prenuptial agreement protect my family business, family members and family heirlooms?

Protecting Family Business

Prenuptial agreement keeps control and protects ownership of assets, finances and properties belonging to a family business.  Without it, the court could award some of your family business ownership rights to your partner. This will lead to a potentially difficult situation in case the marriage fails.

Protecting Family Members

A prenuptial agreement is often used to designate responsibility. It is also significant to protect the interests of children from an earlier marriage as well as children from the upcoming marriage. By signing a formal agreement, you can make sure that your children receive the assets, property or money you want them to have in case of separation.

Protecting Family Heirlooms

Heirloom could be anything valuable passed down from generations to its family members.  A prenuptial agreement can make sure that family heirlooms are kept out of the marital estate. This is important when there are children from an earlier marriage or there are intentions to give it to other relatives.

Why is a prenuptial agreement significant in a divorce?

This could help as a guideline between the couple on how to divide the properties upon divorce.  There is less stress and bitterness and less to fight about upon a divorce procedure by entering into a prenuptial agreement.  Divorce may incur less cost if there is a prior arrangement with spouses’ respective rights.

What are the important points to consider when preparing a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are in writing and signed before the marriage with at the presence of least two witnesses.  You must also register it in the local office where the marriage will take place.  This has to be in both Thai and English or the spouse’s native language for better understanding of both parties.  It is important to consider that you cannot alter it except by authorization of the court.  It is extremely important that both parties understand exactly all the rights and obligations that goes along with the signing of the agreement that is why each party needs legal counsel from their own respective lawyers.

Will a prenuptial agreement drafted in Thailand be valid to cover my assets in other countries?

It is advisable that you also get legal advice from a legal professional under the other jurisdictions involved.  Other countries may not always fully recognize a prenuptial agreement you make in Thailand under Thai law as it may have a conflict of laws between the different jurisdictions.

Can it cover child support or child custody?

Prenuptial Agreements do not deal with child custody or child support issues, the court makes the final decision on custody. Parties cannot set child support since no one can predict all the circumstances which will arise at the time of a dispute.  The court shall have the power to decide what is in the child’s best interest. They will not deny a child the right to financial support or the opportunity to have a relationship with an able parent.

What if after years of marriage, my spouse and I decide that we no longer want to have the Prenuptial Agreement in effect?

Most well-written Prenuptial Agreements will stipulate a condition that dictates exactly how to withdraw the Prenuptial Agreement. It may also have a provision for automatic cancellation after an agreed-upon amount of years.