Thailand Divorce Lawyer
When marriage starts to breakdown we get to identify variety of reasons for its cause such as act of infidelity; misconduct; physical/mental/psychological harm against the spouse; lack of respect; or even abandonment issue. Divorce happens when disputes between spouses can no longer be worked out. Thailand is one of the nations who practice divorce. Divorce in a nutshell involves the hard facts of dissolving a marriage: what you may be in when divorce happens; hardships you will encounter; the costs involved; the custody arrangement; repercussions after the divorce was granted. While each family law case is different and unique, all couples undergoing this process finds it as stressful, sad, and confusing as another. Your concern before the divorce process may be, "Can I really do it or am I entitled to file a divorce in Thailand?" or "Will the court really grant me the divorce?" It is best to seek out a family attorney for a consultation, one that can best represent your case.
Below is an interview conducted with Attorney Siriporn Denkesineelam (Ms. Mandy, left), a Bangkok-based family lawyer. She assists locals and expatriates throughout Thailand who need representation in divorce, child custody, child support and marital properties.
Securing Client's Rights
"Handling family law requires not only interest in the field. It also needs the emotional readiness to handle the clients who are undergoing emotional battle."
In more than 4 years, Ms. Mandy has been handling numerous situations involving family law disputes from high-conflict to low-conflict family law cases in actual courtroom hearings. The level of experience counts in family law as this will help in better handling the matrimonial cases, custody settlements and divorce petitions.
"Living abroad and my experience in University of California Riverside prepared me from the setback of every Thai lawyer in the country, that would be dealing with foreigners with different culture and language."
Indeed, her commitment and ability to articulate Thai law in 3 different languages (Chinese, Thai, and English) can provide variety of clients with clear guidance regarding Thailand family law and give them informed decisions about their case.
Divorce in Thailand
Thailand divorce is categorized into two: by mutual judgment (uncontested) or by court decision (contested).
In an uncontested divorce, both parties consent to the separation. No disputes arise in terms of property division and child custody. Once the requirements are fully complied with and presented to the Amphur (local register office), the marriage may be dissolved in a day. A divorce certificate can also be immediately issued. Foreigners who got married in Thailand can file the divorce in the same Amphur where the marriage was registered by presenting their thai marriage certificate and passports. Thai spouses need to present their national ID card.
Contested divorce applies when one party is unwilling to terminate the marriage, thus entails a court judgment. This type of divorce is recognized in most countries. Existence of the grounds for divorce is required to be proven. The couple must be present in court hearings in order to avoid dismissal of the action.
Will a divorce in Thailand be recognized in other countries?
US, Australia and Canada are some of the few countries recognizing Uncontested Divorce. For the US, we have to make sure if that state in particular recognizes the Uncontested Divorce. Each state has its own law so I would recommend to the client to confirm with their local lawyers this issue.
If the marriage has not been registered in Thailand, yet both parties agree for the divorce, you can file a divorce through the court (Contested Divorce) and just sign the compromise agreement.
If one of the divorcing parties is a foreigner, regard must be given to the divorce laws of the foreign party’s country. There are only some countries recognizing this type of divorce such as US, Australia and Canada. For US, it depends on the particular state as each state has its own law. There are some states which do not recognize an uncontested (administrative) divorce. It would be best to confirm with a lawyer for that country or State.
Contested Divorce on the other hand is recognized in most countries because this is a divorce based on court judgment.
How long does a divorce process take?
For the Uncontested divorce it would take between 1-3 days. Some district office they will request for the passport to be notarized which means the client has to get the passport certified by his embassy and certified by Ministry of Foreign Affairs certified to Thai version.
In general it would take 3-6 months for the court to finish hearing a contested divorce case. If both parties could settle at the first hearing called Mediation that would take 3-4 months for the judgment to be rendered but if they cannot settle during the mediation the procedure can last at least 6 months or longer than 6 months if they have so many issues to be decided by court.
If not domiciled in Thailand, can foreigners file their divorce here?
As a general rule, yes as long as one or both parties have resided or worked in Thailand for a considerable period of time.