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Do You Need to File for Divorce in Thailand?

Mar 3

If you live in Thailand or you and your spouse live overseas and were married in Thailand, you will need to know more about filing for divorce. By getting a general overview, you can proceed without too much difficulty or worry.

Therefore, the court jurisdiction for divorce is determined by where the marriage occurred. It may also be confirmed by the legal residence of the party getting sued, or the defendant, or where the marital properties are situated in a divorce dispute. It may also be filed, based on the grounds of the lawsuit. In this instance, you can have your attorney file suit, and you do not have to be physically present.


Claiming Marital Property

If the lawsuit involves the claim of marital property, the court will assess a fee of 2% of the total claim. However, this fee cannot go above 200,000 THB, as the cost is capped legally. If you are a defendant in a divorce case, you will receive a summons. You have 30 days to file a response and a counter-claim.


Getting through the Process with Minimal Problems

In a divorce that is not mutual, a pre-trial court date is set. Otherwise, the divorce can be filed at the district office where the couple registered the marriage. Couples who have differences may ask to speak to the court’s judge privately or use the services of a mediator. Depending on the outcome of these discussions, either a trial date will be set or another pre-trial hearing will be arranged. A judge usually does all that he or she can to avoid going to trial. That is why it is often advisable to obtain the services of a legal mediator when the divorce is contested or a dispute arises.


Child Custody Disputes – How They Are Handled

If child custody becomes an issue, the children and parents will need to go through a legally mandatory interview at the Juvenile Observation and Protection Center. Children should be of school age for this to occur. This interview is typically established 15 days before a lawsuit is filed.

During this process, the investigators review each of the party’s lifestyle choices, earnings, and other background information. They may make a recommendation about custody to the judge. When a case must go to trial, each party in a suit gives their version of the reasons for divorce and are cross-examined. Before the verdict is read, the parties may be able to mutually agree on some sort of settlement.

The agreement is signed in the courtroom under the direction of lawyers and the judge. The judge will then issue a ruling, based on the terms of the agreement. Unless shown otherwise, the property and assets that are obtained during a marriage are deemed marital assets. Therefore, both parties have ownership rights to the property. The court decides on the facts, as presented, then divides the property accordingly. If the marriage is Thai-foreign in nature, the details of ownership can become complex. That is because certain restrictions are placed on the foreign ownership of immovable property.

All divorces in Thailand are registered at the district office where the marriage was registered. The local registrar will review the paperwork and issue the certificate of divorce. After the certificate is issued, you no longer have any obligations towards the other party with respect to the marriage. You and your ex-partner are free to marry someone else.

When you read the legal jargon and terms in Thai divorce legislation, it can become quite confusing. That is why it is best to turn to an attorney for instruction. You need to make sure you comply with the law and that the paperwork is handled properly. That way, you won’t run into any processing problems. By taking this approach, you will find that your divorce proceedings will not be as stressful and you can move on with your life with less strain.


Supporting Documentation

If you are prepared or you prepare well legally, you will stay more focused on the procedure and will be able to divorce without less hassle. For example, you should have the following documents gathered when you file for divorce:

  • The required documentation with two signatures of witnesses.
  • A photo ID for each party.
  • A passport for each party.
  • The marriage certificate.

Note: Be aware that a divorce in Thailand that is mutual only applies if you were married in Thailand. If you were married outside of Thailand, you can still apply for a divorce in Thailand. However, in this instance, you will have to go through court.


Professional Fees

Usually, when you retain the services of an attorney, you will need to pay certain professional fees. If you agree to divorce mutually, you will spend about an hour consulting with the attorney and will need to pay for the drafting and issuance of the settlement agreement. You will also need to pay the attorney for accompanying you to the district office. The paperwork should be presented in English and Thai language. You will need to pay for the English translation.

If you need to pay for divorce by a court judgment, you will need to pay the attorney to represent you in a Thai courtroom. You will also need to pay for translation services. You may need to remit money, as well, for surveilling your spouse or for obtaining a background check.

Regardless of how you decide to proceed, you need to prepare yourself and find out more about what you need to do to ensure good results. Contact a family law attorney that is well versed in the intricacies of divorce, as well as other matters, such as prenuptial agreements and property rights.