Divorce Decree in Thailand

Divorce Decree in ThailandWhen getting divorced in Thailand, it is important to hire an experienced family law attorney who understands the legal requirements of Thai law and also the personal requirements of their clients. A properly drafted divorce decree is important to minimize future conflict by clearly delineating the rights and obligations of the parties. If you hire an experience Thai family law attorney, they will understand what is required in the divorce agreement.

What should be included in a properly prepared Thai divorce decree?
  1. Party Information
    The Thai Divorce Agreement should identify the parties and children of the marriage, information about the marriage relationship, and the causes of the divorce. Children of the marriage needs to be identified and Thai law requires that the cause of the breakdown of the marriage be identified.

  2. Child Custody
    There are two issues that need to be resolved for Child Custody. The first issue is who will have legal custody of the child. Legal custody involves the right to make decisions in regards to the needs of the child.

    Under most circumstances, both parents will agree to have joint legal custody over the child. This means that the parents will jointly make the decision over the child’s education, health care, and religion of the child.

    Unless there is a provision that both parents have to agree on the decision, each parent can independently make a legal decision for the child. A proper divorce decree should clearly explain how decision affecting the child should be decided in case of conflict.

    The second issue is physical custody. Physical custody means which parent will the child primarily reside with and who will have visitation rights.

    There are circumstances where the child lives one week with one parent and one week with the other parent. However courts prefer that the child have a primary residence to reduce disruption to the child’s life.

    In the divorce decree, the visitation schedule should be clearly delineated and provisions to prevent the parent with primary custody from interfering with the visitation. For parents who live far away and may not have a regular visitation schedule, a flexible minimum number of stays with prior notice can be written into the agreement.

    See the Custodial Rights Under Thai Law.

  3. Child Support
    In Thai divorce, the court will generally require the non-primary parent to provide financial support to the child to ensure that the best interest of the child will be met. The court will look at the non-primary parent’s financial situation and child lifestyle to determine the appropriate amount of child support. The divorce agreement should cover who is responsible for paying child support, method of payment, and period of payment. Child support is generally required until the child becomes an adult which is when the child is married or the age of 20.

    See Child Support by court order and by mutual consent here.

  4. Spousal Support
    In Thailand, Spousal Support is not required but local court have started providing spousal support if the breakdown of the marriage is caused by the actions of one party and if the non-fault party will have difficulty in supporting themselves. If spousal support is in the divorce agreement, it is important to provide the detail of the payment including the amount, payment date, and when the support will end. Generally spousal support ends upon the re-marriage of the support receiving spouse or at a fix term.

  5. Marital Property and Debts Distribution
    The section on marital property distribution details the division of property accrued during the marriage. Property that was received prior to the marriage is considered separate property unless it was mixed with the marital property. If a prenuptial agreement was properly filed with the local provincial government office, it will control the distribution of the marital property. There are additional legal provisions which affect whether property is considered marital property or separate property.

    Debt accumulated during the marriage that is necessary for the maintenance of the family is considered debt of the marriage and both parties are jointly liable for its payment. However, the court only has authority to control the distribution of marital property. The court can place the responsibility to paying the debt on one party but the debtor can still attempt to collect the debt from both parties. The parties of the divorce can sue each other to collect payment based on the divorce decree.

    The marital property division provision in a Divorce Agreement should label which property is confirmed separate property and divide the ownership of the marital property and the marital debt. There should also be provision on the facilitating the property exchange including getting the required signatures and access to the property.

Getting divorced in a Thailand can be bewildering especially if a party is not fluent in Thai. It is important to be represented by an English speaking Thai attorney so that they understand their rights and duties under Thai family law. If you are contemplating marriage or a divorce in Thailand, call the licensed Thai attorneys at Siam Legal International for a consultation.

Robert Virasin
Robert Virasin
Mr. Robert R. Virasin serves as legal manager of Siam Legal’s Immigration Division. A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor Degree in Political Science, Mr. Virasin completed his Juris Doctorate at the University of Houston and a Masters of Laws (Business) from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Mr. Virasin is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is a licensed U.S. attorney with over 15 years of legal experience. Robert is a regular contributor and author of a number of immigration related articles.

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