Marriage, Protection of Asset, Divorce, Conflict of Laws
Can I get a divorce in Thailand?
If one party lives outside Thailand and wishes to file for divorce in Thailand, they may do so by appointing a representative or a lawyer to act on their behalf. The representative or lawyer must be authorized to act as a proxy for the party who is living outside of Thailand.
The divorce proceedings in Thailand are governed by the Thai Civil and Commercial Code, which provides for several grounds for divorce, including adultery, abandonment, and irreconcilable differences. The party who is filing for divorce must establish that one of these grounds exists and provide evidence to support their claim.
If the divorce is uncontested, meaning both parties agree to the terms of the divorce and there are no disputes over property or other matters, the process can be relatively straightforward. However, if the divorce is contested, it can be more complex and may involve litigation in Thai courts.
It is worth noting that if the marriage was registered outside of Thailand, the divorce may need to be registered in the country where the marriage was registered in order to be recognized as legally valid.
In Thailand, there are several grounds for divorce, as outlined in the Civil and Commercial Code. These include:
- Adultery: If one spouse commits adultery, the other spouse may file for divorce. Adultery is defined as sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their spouse.
- Desertion: If one spouse abandons the other without reasonable cause or justification for more than one year, the other spouse may file for divorce.
- Three-year separation: If the spouses have lived separately for three years or more without cohabitation, the spouse who wishes to end the marriage may file for divorce.
- Separation due to disagreements: If the spouses have lived separately for more than six months due to disagreements and there is no possibility of reconciliation, either spouse may file for divorce.
- Imprisonment: If one spouse is sentenced to imprisonment for more than one year and there is no possibility of reconciliation, the other spouse may file for divorce.
- Serious misconduct: If one spouse seriously breaches their duty to the other spouse or the family, or behaves in a manner that is intolerable for the other spouse to continue living with them, the other spouse may file for divorce.
It is important to note that divorce proceedings in Thailand can be complex and may involve negotiation and mediation. It is recommended that individuals seeking a divorce in Thailand consult with a qualified attorney who can provide guidance on the legal process and their rights under Thai law.
Prenup Agreements in Thailand
Yes, prenuptial agreements are recognized and valid under Thai law. Prenuptial agreements are commonly known as “premarital agreements” or “marriage contracts” in Thailand.
Under Thai law, a prenuptial agreement can be made between two parties before marriage and must be in writing. The agreement must be signed and certified by a competent officer or authorized official, such as a notary public, and registered with the district office where the marriage will take place.
In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid under Thai law, it must meet certain requirements. The agreement must not violate Thai law, public order, or good morals. Additionally, both parties must sign the agreement voluntarily and without any coercion, undue influence, or misrepresentation.
It is important to note that while a prenuptial agreement can be an effective tool for protecting assets in the event of a divorce, it cannot be used to determine issues related to child custody, child support, or alimony in Thailand. These issues are decided by the courts based on the best interests of the child and other relevant factors.
No, a prenuptial agreement cannot deal with child custody matters in Thailand. Under Thai law, issues related to child custody, child support, and child visitation are determined by the court based on the best interests of the child.
The court will consider factors such as the child’s age, health, education, and living conditions, as well as the ability of each parent to care for the child. The court may also take into account the child’s preferences and the relationship between the child and each parent.
A prenuptial agreement in Thailand can only deal with issues related to the division of assets and property between the spouses in the event of divorce or separation. It cannot be used to waive or limit a parent’s rights or obligations with respect to child custody, child support, or child visitation.
Division of Assets
Yes, a foreign husband may be entitled to a share in a matrimonial house registered in his Thai wife’s name in the event of a divorce in Thailand. This is because Thai law recognizes the concept of joint marital property, which means that assets acquired during the course of a marriage are generally considered joint property, regardless of whether they are registered in one spouse’s name or both spouses’ names.
The division of property in a divorce will depend on various factors, such as the length of the marriage, the contributions of each spouse to the acquisition and maintenance of the property, and the needs of any children. If the foreign husband can demonstrate that he contributed financially to the acquisition or maintenance of the property, he may be entitled to a larger share of the property.
It is worth noting, however, that as a foreigner, the husband is generally not permitted to own land in Thailand. This means that if the matrimonial house is built on land that is registered in the wife’s name, the foreign husband will not be able to own the land itself. However, he may be entitled to a share of the value of the house, which can be determined by a court in the event of a divorce.
A prenuptial agreement (commonly abbreviated as prenup or prenupt) is a contract entered into by a couple prior to marriage. The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or breakup of the marriage. Prenuptial agreements may also include terms for the forfeiture of assets as a result of divorce on the grounds of adultery. Conditions of guardianship may be included as well.
The Commercial and Civil Code of Thailand recognizes prenuptial agreements. Under Thai law, a valid and enforceable prenuptial agreement requires that the contents of the agreement not be contrary to Thai law or morals. The agreement must also be made prior to the marriage, as a contract made between married spouses concerning personal property and jointly owned property (sometimes referred to as a post-nuptial agreement) is not valid under Thai law. Additionally, prospective spouses must both fully understand the contents of the agreement. In most cases, this requires that the agreement be drafted in both the English and Thai languages. Both prospective spouses, in the presence of two witnesses, must sign the pre-nuptial agreement and the existence of the agreement must be entered into the civil Marriage Register together with the marriage.
It is extremely important for a pre-nuptial agreement to be carefully drafted by an experienced Thai attorney, because there are many clauses commonly contained in pre-nuptial agreements in other countries that are not valid under Thai law. Examples of clauses that have been held by the Thai courts to be contrary to Thai law and morals are clauses specifying that the husband’s entire salary be given to the wife; that the pre-nuptial agreement be governed by the laws of a third country; that in the event of infidelity on the part of the husband, the wife may sure for divorce; or, clauses that specify responsibility for particular personal or business debts. Additionally, as pre-nuptial agreements cannot be altered or amended after the marriage, except under the authorization of a Thai court, considerable planning, foresight and legal skill must be employed in the drafting of the agreement.
If you are in need of a pre-nuptial agreement (or are considering whether or not you need one), please do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to meet with you in person or via videoconference to discuss your situation, advise you of your legal options and recommend an appropriate course of action.