Divorce in Thailand

Getting married in Thailand also comes with exposure and protection under specific laws endemic to the country.You’d have to recognize or put into consideration these rules if you’re planning to marry in Thailand, or if you and your spouse are working in Thailand.

Not that you want your marriage to end, but unforeseen circumstances could lead to problems for which divorce is, sadly, the only recourse that couples can go through.

The question is – how does Thai law look at divorce? What does it require in order for couples to be able to file for a divorce?

Common Grounds for Divorce in Thailand

While there is what they call an uncontested divorce in Thailand, common divorce procedures typically recognize these grounds in order to grant the request through a judge:

1. Adultery, committed by either or both parties in a marriage.
2. Criminal misconduct on the part of at least one spouse.
3. Abandonment of one spouse by the other.
4. Physical and mental abuse carried out by one spouse against the other.
5. Communicable diseases.
6. Inability to consumerate the marriage through sexual relations because of physical handicaps.
7. Mental incapability to perform responsibilities as spouse, for at least 3 years.
8. One spouse has not provided the necessary financial support over the course of the marriage.
9. The couple must have separated or lived separately for at least 3 years.

Take note of these grounds, as knowledge of these will be very useful later on if you think your marriage is on the rocks. Of course, consulting a lawyer  for help will definitely be to your best interests at that time.

Types of Divorce Proceedings in Thailand

As mentioned earlier, the uncontested divorce exists in Thailand. The process is a lot faster in this, and does not even require you or your spouse to meet the grounds detailed above in order to be granted a divorce. You only need to mutually agree that you want a divorce, and an administrative official will grant your petition.

The other type of divorce is contested divorce, and it requires you and your spouse to go through judicial proceedings in order to prove that one or even both parties have satisfied the legal grounds for granting divorce. It is lengthier than the uncontested divorce, but has its own advantages depending on the situation of the couple.

For instance, if the two parties cannot agree on post-divorce terms on alimony and child support, then a judicial proceeding required by contested divorce claims can certainly help out with that. Contested divorce is also applicable for couples who have not been married and registered in Thailand.

Which One to Resort to?

For local Thais, it’s in accordance with local culture that they go through the uncontested divorce route. It is less embarrassing, less costly, and avoids the possibility of worsening conflict between the two spouses. Thus, it’s common for local couples to go through the administrative route rather than the judicial.

However, uncontested divorce is a possible problem if one of the spouses is a foreigner. Internationally, Thailand’s uncontested divorce is not recognized.

There are some countries that do recognize that kind of divorce; however, you will need the help of a lawyer in order to determine if the granted divorce in Thailand will be binding and legal in your own country.

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