Filing of Divorce in Thailand

Divorce in Thailand is an intricate process. It is important to consult a lawyer for professional assessment before filing for divorce.

If both parties agree to end their marriage, an administrative divorce at the district office (Khet in Bangkok; Amphoe in provinces) can be registered. This will take much less time, cost and physical court appearances.

Grounds for Divorce

Divorce in Thailand is a very emotional and stressful time. Before taking the decision to divorce one must be fully aware of the legal implications. This can be done by contacting a Thai divorce lawyer.

The law sets out grounds for divorce in section 1516 of the Commercial and Civil Code. A divorce can be filed when either or both of the parties satisfy one or more of these grounds.

Generally, the court will make rulings on issues such as the division of marital property, child custody in Thailand and visitation and if necessary alimony settlements. A contested divorce may take considerably more time, money and physical court appearances than a divorce by mutual consent. In any case, a foreign national who has been married in Thailand should consult with a qualified family lawyer to ensure that the process is carried out correctly. This will ensure that the divorce is valid in Thailand and will also be recognized by immigration officials in other countries.

Divorce by Mutual Consent

If the spouses are in complete agreement on all matters relating to divorce, they can file for an administrative divorce at the district office (Khet or Amphur) where their marriage was originally registered. This is called a divorce by mutual consent or uncontested divorce.

It is important that the husband and wife understand each other well and agree to all issues related to the divorce especially dividing property and spousal maintenance. We recommend that they draw up a written divorce settlement agreement with the help of a reputable law firm in Thailand which can prepare the divorce agreement in both Thai and English.

If the divorce settlement agreement contains an arrangement on these matters that is contrary to the law the court will not ratify it. The couple will have to attend a court hearing where they will be required to present themselves personally and confirm the divorce settlement agreement in order to register it.

Divorce by Court Order

If both spouses agree to end the Thailand marriage, they can register an administrative divorce at the local registrar office (Khet in Bangkok; Amphoe in the provinces) where their original marriage registration took place. This option allows them to avoid the court process and may save time and money. The registrar will record their agreement on the division of property and child custody, and they should bring two witnesses to the divorce registration.

In some cases, it is preferable for a couple to draw up a divorce settlement agreement with their lawyers in advance of the administrative divorce process. This will allow them to avoid the possibility of disputes over property and children.

In cases where the spouses disagree on one or more of the grounds for divorce, they can’t file an administrative divorce at the district offices and will have to file a judicial divorce case with the courts. The lawsuit is known as a contested divorce and both spouses must be present at the court hearing.

Divorce on Mutual Consent at the Amphur

When a couple does not have any disputes regarding the divorce they can file for an administrative divorce at the local Amphur (district office). This process is a lot quicker and less expensive than filing a contested divorce in court. The only requirement is that both spouses must agree on the divorce settlement and they must attend the Amphur together to register the divorce.

Unless a prenuptial agreement states otherwise property acquired during the marriage is considered to be joint property. Consequently, in a divorce on mutual consent at the Amphur the couples will have to decide how to split their assets and any children.

A well drafted and legally binding divorce agreement can also contain provisions about child support and custody and other matters pertaining to the end of the marriage. The agreement must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and it must be filed with the Amphur. The couple will also have to present the original marriage certificate, a copy of their ID and any other documents required by the Amphur.

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