The Legality of Divorce in Thailand

Divorce is a difficult decision to make. It is an extremely personal experience and can have negative effects on both the emotional and financial well-being of a person. This is why it is important to take the time to acquire the right knowledge before heading towards a divorce.

Divorcing in Thailand is a complicated and often stressful process that requires expert advice, negotiation and settlement of all issues that may arise. A good Thai divorce lawyer can help you understand your rights and guide you through the legal and financial implications of a divorce.

The Legality of Divorce in Thailand
Getting a divorce in Thailand is an essential step for any couple to end their marriage. This will formally end the marriage and dissolve any legal obligations and duties the spouses have under the marriage. This includes dividing marital property (sin somros), child custody and if there is any, financial alimony.

A divorce in Thailand can be effected either by a judgment of a court or by a mutual consent from both spouses. Both of these methods are effected by the competent official at the district office (amphur) and require both of the spouses to be present and sign off on the terms of the divorce.

If the divorce is effected by a judge in court it will be considered a contested divorce and will typically be much more expensive. This can also require more court appearances and representation by a Thai lawyer.

Contested divorces can be difficult to resolve and will typically take a lot longer, more money and a lot of court work. This is why it is recommended to seek expert divorce advice from a qualified Thai divorce lawyer as soon as possible to reduce the stress and costs associated with a divorce.

The main grounds for divorce in Thailand are listed under section 1516 of the Civil and Commercial Code. If you have these grounds you can seek a divorce by suing for separation and dissolution of the marriage in court.

You can also seek a divorce if you have lived apart from your spouse for more than one year. This is known as “desertion”.

If you have children, it is usually best to get them involved in the divorce process from the very beginning. This can protect their interests and avoid any future conflicts later down the line.

Your property is divided equally between you and your spouse upon a divorce in Thailand. This will include your jointly owned property and assets (sin somros) as well as any debts that you have incurred during the marriage.

The law states that the division of marital property should be fair and equal, but this can be a difficult issue to resolve if there is disagreement. The laws in Thailand state that any assets acquired during the marriage are considered joint owned property (sin somros) and subject to equitable distribution by a judge if there is any dispute over who gets what.


Grounds For Divorce in Thailand

Grounds for divorce in Thailand are not as straightforward as many people think. The Thai legal system is quite unique and dissimilar to other Common Law jurisdictions, such as the US or UK or even continental Europe. Nevertheless, there are many grounds for divorce in Thailand which can be used to end a marriage.

Divorce by mutual consent (Uncontested or Administrative divorce process) – This method of divorce is applicable in Thailand if both spouses agree to end the marriage and divorce. This divorce is a fast and affordable procedure which is also less stressful on both parties, their children, and the families.

You can file for an uncontested divorce at the district office in your city or town and register it on one day. However, it is recommended to have a lawyer with you at all times in case the documentation needs to be prepared before you can register it.

This type of divorce requires that you have registered your marriage in Thailand and it takes effect as soon as the district office receives all required documents. If the marriage was registered in another country, the divorce can be registered in that country too but you should check with your local immigration officer whether this is possible before you proceed to register it.

In some cases, the courts in other countries may recognize a Thai divorce decree but it is largely dependent on the laws of that country. In particular, it depends on the divorce grounds and also if the judgment is based upon any of the twelve grounds for divorce in Thailand.

The following are some of the grounds for divorce in Thailand:
a) Desertion, abandonment and voluntary separation for more than a year
This is a ground for divorce in Thailand which applies when one spouse leaves the other in Thailand without permission and without notice for more than a year. The person seeking the divorce must be able to show that he or she has been physically and mentally absent from the other for more than a year.

b) Impotency or infertility of the other spouse
This ground for divorce in Thailand is based on the inability of the other spouse to become pregnant or have children. It is a ground for divorce in Thailand that is particularly relevant to couples with children.

c) Illness or accident of the other spouse
This is another ground for divorce in Thailand and is based on the other spouse being seriously ill or injured in a way that prevents him or her from working or sustaining an income.

d) Physical disadvantage of the other spouse
This grounds for divorce in Thailand is based on the other spouse having a physical handicap so that it would be impossible for him or her to work or live as a husband and wife.

e) Retaliation of the other spouse against him or her by the latter
This is one of the most popular grounds for divorce in Thailand and it has been the basis of countless claims for divorce throughout the history of Thailand. This ground for divorce in Thailand has been especially popular with foreigners who have lived and worked in Thailand for a period of time.