Divorce in Thailand: Ending a Marriage
Understand legal divorce in Thailand: who may get one, where and how, with an explanation of the simple divorce by mutual consent available to couples married in Thailand…
A divorce by mutual consent in Thailand is fairly easy to obtain; any other type of divorce can be more complicated.
Note: Divorce by mutual consent only applies if the couple married in Thailand. If they married outside Thailand they may apply for divorce in Thailand but have to go through the court system.
Divorce by Mutual Consent
An uncontested divorce can be obtained at the local District Office (khet/amphur). A divorce by mutual consent must be made in writing and certified with the signature of at least two witnesses and it must be registered with the relevant authorities.
The divorce documents and a summary on completing the form are available from the local District Office. All documents are in Thai.
There is no requirement to be accompanied by lawyer or have lawyer prepare the divorce documents. But having a lawyer may help explain things better.
Registering the divorce
Registration is made at the District Office. At most amphurs it is not possible to make an appointment, instead simply join the queue.
Take the following:
Completed written documents with two witness signatures
Photo identification for both parties
Passports for both parties
The marriage certificate
A small fee is charged.
Divorce by Judgment
A court will only grant a divorce by judgment on legal grounds. These grounds include:
A spouse is guilty of misconduct that inflicts serious shame, insult or injury on their partner and cohabitation is no longer possible
A spouse has caused serious harm or torture to the body or mind of their partner, or has seriously insulted their parents
A spouse has deserted for longer one year
A spouse has disappeared
a spouse has failed to provide proper maintenance and support to their partner; cohabitation is no longer possible
A spouse suffering from serious mental illness for at least three years
A breach of the good behaviour bond
A spouse is suffering from a contagious and dangerous disease which is incurable and may cause injury to the other
A spouse has a physical handicap and is permanently unable to cohabit as husband and wife
A lawyer is needed to start filing proceedings for divorce.
An arrangement must be made in the divorce settlement regarding the parental rights and contribution to the maintenance of involved children. If provisions are not included in the divorce agreement, the court will determine the provisions.
In a case of divorce on the grounds of adultery, compensation may be awarded to the innocent spouse. A spouse may claim for living allowance if the grounds for divorce were derived from the fault of only one spouse. However, this right is void when the party receiving the allowance remarries.
Thailand falls under community property law, meaning any property acquired during marriage is considered shared or community property and any property acquired pre-marriage is not. This law is subject to some interpretation however. After divorce, the property of the husband and wife is subject to liquidation (unless otherwise agreed upon). Property owned on the date of the registration of the divorce or the date the divorce was filed in court is subject to liquidation. Any common property (sin somros) is divided equally between the man and the woman (unless otherwise agreed upon).
Prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common in Thailand. To be valid, a prenuptial agreement must be signed by both spouses as well as two witnesses and registered with the relevant authorities – the local District Office (khet/amphur) – at the time of marriage.