When the time comes to divorce a couple in Thailand there are many options available. These vary according to the type of marriage and whether or not there is any disagreement between the two parties involved.
If the two parties agree to end their marriage and have no disagreements over such issues as children or property then they can apply for an administrative divorce. This is called an ‘uncontested’ divorce and it is much quicker and easier to obtain than a contested divorce which requires court procedures.
The procedure for getting an administrative divorce is easy, simply go to the Registrar office at your local District Office (called “Khet” or “Amphur”) and fill out the form. Upon submission of the documents to the Registrar your divorce will be registered and a divorce certificate will be issued.
You can also get an administrative divorce at any Thai Embassy or Consulate. These offices are usually open during business hours and a representative of the consulate can assist you with the paperwork, however it is best to consult with a lawyer in advance as the process can be long and complicated.
A contested divorce is when one or both spouses do not agree to the dissolution of the marriage and instead want to sue the other party in order to dissolve the marriage based on one of the grounds listed under the Thai Civil and Commercial Code. These grounds include committing adultery, deserting the other spouse for more than one year or failing to provide maintenance.
When a divorce is contested the couple must file a petition with the Thai Family Court and there are also court fees to be paid in addition to any claims on marital property that are made. These court fees are computed at 2% of the total amount of the claim and a fee for the delivery of the summons to the respondent is also charged.
The filing of a divorce petition in the Thai Family Court can be a lengthy and costly affair. You should therefore consult with a Thai Family Law attorney as soon as you have decided to file for a divorce.
In common with many countries, property acquired during the course of a marriage is divided equally on divorce. In addition, property held prior to the marriage is not considered part of the community property regime and remains in the names of the spouses who originally owned it.
It is also worth noting that debts incurred during the marriage are in general the responsibility of both spouses.
Once the divorce has been finalized, alimony can be awarded. This may be awarded in the form of a settlement agreement between the divorcing parties or as a judgement from a court. It is important to note that alimony can be terminated if the receiving spouse becomes a victim of domestic abuse or commits an act of aggravated domestic violence against the recipient spouse.