Expatriate divorces are common in Thailand. Many end in litigation while the good majority tends to end with a settlement agreement. In Thailand there are two types of divorces. There is a litigated divorce which normally runs for a year and becomes costly when it becomes complex. Then there is also the administrative divorce. This is easy and is done by agreement without the need for a court of law.
Divorce in Thailand
Always ensure that you have taken proper legal advice by speak to an attorney in Thailand. Family lawyers are not very common in Thailand. The most common disputes tends to be over child custody and property. Even if there is no dispute you are best serviced by an attorney in Thailand drafting you the divorce agreement. An error can be costly. The divorce agreements stipulate where the children will live as well as how the property will be divided. This then goes to the local district office normally where you got married or registered you wedding in Thailand. You will also need a reason for the divorce. Most times there will be two reasons listed on the divorce application. The following are the grounds for divorce in Thailand.
Grounds for Divorce in Thailand:
- One of the parties have committed adultery;
- One of the parties embarrassed the other with their behavior leaving them ashamed;
- One of the parties was tortured physically or mentally;
- One of the parties has deserted for more than a year (prison sentences are included);
- You have not lived together for 3 years because of fighting and arguments;
- You have not supported your wife as you should (not paying for household upkeep);
- One of the parties has been declared insane;
- One of the parties suffers from an illness that does not allow you to live together.
These would be the grounds for divorce in Thailand according to Thai family law. If you are served with papers then it is best to seek legal advice as ignoring the papers leaves you open to your wife also suing you for damages. These basic defense reasons are listed as follows:
- Your wife gave you permission to have a girlfriend so it is not adultery;
- You have not embarrassed your wife to the extend to file for divorce;
- You have been a model husband and your wife is a difficult person;
- You did not desert your wife as you told her you would be working overseas;
Note that a village wedding is not a real marriage and does not require a divorce. Those are traditional marriages and are not legally binding. This is also one of the most common question from foreigners who met someone on the internet, had a village wedding and thinking that it is legally binding.
Getting divorced in Thailand can be costly and can drag on for years. Take proper legal advice in Thailand and speak to a lawyer before you sign any agreements or make any offers which you might later regret. Apply common sense and take good legal advice.