Thailand Divorce Lawyers
Siam Legal International has a team of Family lawyers who can assist Thai and foreign nationals who need representation in adoption, prenuptial agreement, divorce, child custody, child support, and marital properties in Thailand.
Below is an interview conducted with our Bangkok-based family lawyers. They assist locals and expatriates throughout Thailand who need representation in Thai divorce, child custody, child support, and marital properties.
Mr. Chaiwut Ookchim
"The field of family law that I like the most is the child custody, because handling these cases, you are not only involved between the two conflicting parties but also the third party which is the child- an innocent child. The child does not know what is going on and I love listening to the child. I like to know what are the feelings and thoughts of the child, to know his/her intentions and upon listening to the child you will have a better understanding on how to handle the case, you are able to set a goal and explain it to the parents. As a family lawyer, I feel that I have the responsibility on the well-being and the future of the child. After a year or few years, when I see the development of the child, it is a rewarding experience to realize that I have made a positive impact in one child's life - a child who will grow up and become a productive member of the society."
Mr. Chaiwut (Khun Ake) has been educated both in Thailand and the UK with more than 10 years of experience as a family lawyer. He is adept in Thai law and he 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 uncontested and contested divorce.
Miss Chutikan Rattanakhot
"As a family lawyer, one of the important issues that I take note when representing a foreigner is to have a better understanding of both Thai law and the law of their country, so that we know how to apply it when we file the lawsuit such as divorce in Thailand. There are some cases such as uncontested divorce that are legal in Thailand and may not be recognized in some countries or common-law partnership that is legal in other countries but not recognized in Thailand. Having vast experience in representing foreigners with different cultural backgrounds and language, has prepared me to provide a variety of clients with clear guidance regarding the Thailand family law and give them informed decisions about their case."
With a career as a family lawyer for more than 6 years, Miss Chutikan (Khun Fern) has been handling a great number of family law cases such as prenuptial agreement, Thailand divorce, child custody cases, child legitimation, administrative divorce, and court divorce.
Miss Veronika Muttenhaler
"As a family lawyer, it is important to be interested in the field and to have the emotional readiness to handle the clients who are undergoing emotional battle; listen and empathize with the client and understand their situation. It is not only about the facts of the law but also we have to understand the emotions of the parties involved. It is also important that we respect their privacy and confidentiality. In giving advice or legal consultation, we have to separate the emotion and the facts in order for me to give a balanced and sound advice to the client."
In more than 4 years, Miss Veronika (Khun Fair) has handled numerous situations involving family law such as prenuptial agreement, Thai legal marriage registration, and Thailand divorce.
Frequently Asked QuestionsCan foreigners get divorce in Thailand?
Yes, any person living in Thailand may file for a court divorce in Thailand as long as one of the spouses is lawfully present in Thailand, has established residency in Thailand and the divorce action meets other requirements, such as valid grounds for divorce.
If both foreigners are lawfully married in Thailand, and they wish to have uncontested divorce, the couple may obtain an administrative divorce at the District Office where they got married.
If the foreign couple did not marry in Thailand, they will not qualify for an administrative or uncontested divorce at the District Office. Provided they meet other requirements, a contested divorce may be applied for through the Thailand courts, and grounds for divorce must be stated.Will a divorce in Thailand be recognized in other countries?
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 the uncontested divorce such as the US, Australia, and Canada. For the 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.
If the marriage has not been registered in Thailand, yet both parties agree for the divorce, you may file a divorce through the court (Contested Divorce) and just sign the compromise agreement. Contested Divorce on the other hand is recognized in most countries because this is a divorce based on a court judgment.How long does a divorce process take?
For the Uncontested Divorce or Administrative Divorce, it would take between 1-3 days. Some district offices will request for the passport to be notarized which means the client has to get the passport certified by his embassy, translated into Thai and legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
For the Contested Divorce or Court Divorce, 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 the court.How much will it cost to file a divorce in Thailand?
Uncontested Divorce or Administrative divorce without a divorce agreement district offices are usually the least expensive option. Unfortunately, not all married couples qualify for a divorce by mutual consent.
Contested Divorce or Court divorce is more expensive due to processes requiring more time, document preparation, and Thailand court hearings. Divorce lawyer's rate may vary, however, depending on the divorce lawyer in Thailand involved.Can spouses living outside of Thailand file for a divorce in Thai Court?
If the Thailand divorce is uncontested or administrative, both parties will still need to appear at the District office to register the divorce. For a contested divorce, however, requires a judgment from the Thai Court.
If you are now living abroad, the Thai Court may, potentially, still have jurisdiction over a divorce action under some circumstances. Therefore a Thailand divorce lawyer may still be able to file a divorce complaint on your behalf although you may not currently be located in Thailand. However, normally a plaintiff (the spouse who files the divorce complaint) must appear in person at least one time during the court process to provide testimony that establishes the grounds for the divorce. A divorce lawyer can normally assist with reserving a convenient date with the court.
If you reside in Thailand but your spouse is not present or will not return to Thailand for the divorce process, you may still be able to proceed provided that the ground for divorce occurred or is related to Thailand, or one spouse is a Thai national. Thailand courts also require evidence that the Defendant in the divorce case, if residing outside of Thailand, received adequate notice of the divorce action. Service must be applied through a Thai court. However, if your spouse is not in Thailand and substitute service, (such as by publication in a newspaper) may be allowed in certain circumstances. If your spouse does not respond to a lawful service from the court, the divorce case may proceed by default.How are property and outstanding debts divided in the event of divorce?
When a couple divorce in Thailand, separate property such as assets and property acquired before the marriage, generally remains the property of the original owner.
Assets and property acquired during the marriage are commonly considered community property with both spouses having equal ownership rights. The rules regarding division of property are complex and the Thai Court will divide the property according to the law and individual facts of the case.
However, in a negotiated settlement divorcing spouses may alter their division of property normally required by the law if the divorcing couple chooses a different division of assets. Also, prenuptial agreements can alter the distribution of property during a divorce.
Debts incurred during the marriage, whether they are household, medical, or educational, are normally the responsibility of both parties.What if I have a prenuptial agreement?
Prenuptial agreements are allowed in Thailand provided they meet the procedural and substantive requirements of Thai law. A properly executed prenuptial agreement is usually considered a valid legal agreement in other international jurisdictions that accord with the basic principle of fairness and due process. Procedural requirements for prenuptial agreements may be stricter in Western Common Law jurisdictions. On the other hand, many western jurisdictions have fewer requirements for approving prenuptial agreements. Thailand has its own requirements for registering a prenuptial agreement at the time of marriage. If your marriage and prenuptial agreements were executed or registered in another nation a Thai Court will normally accept the agreement if it adheres to requirements of the foreign law.What is a Divorce Agreement?
Before the parties proceed to the Amphur for the administrative or uncontested divorce, it is advised that they first enter into a Divorce Agreement. The Divorce Agreement is a contract entered into between divorcing couples who wish to settle their issues on marital property division and/or child custody before a divorce is granted to them. In some countries, this is also known as the settlement agreement. Aside from the settlement of issues on the sharing of child custody and marital property, the divorce agreement may also contain provisions on spousal support or alimony, and more importantly, child support.What are the Custodial Rights under Thai Law?
Under the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand (CCCT), the term of the rights of custody is called “parental power”. The parental power is exercised by the father, the mother, or a third person who is a legal guardian of the child until the child reaches the legal age (20 years old), and a person exercising parental power has:
- Right to determine the child’s place of residence
- discipline the child reasonably
- demand the return of the child from someone else, including another parent who does not have custody rights and unlawfully detains the child
- manage the property of the child with the restriction that selling, mortgaging, and exchange the property of the minor child must obtain the approval of the court
Child custody in Thailand can be obtained by the mutual consent of the parties and by the decision of the court.