Acquiring Land in Thailand with a Foreign Spouse
At this time, Thailand does not prohibit its citizens who are married to (or cohabiting with) foreign spouses from acquiring land. Nevertheless, the acquisition of land by Thai nationals who are married to foreign spouses is extensively covered by government regulation and it is conditioned on the legal principle that any land owned by the Thai spouse be considered her own separate property (in the case that the couple is married) or as non-community property (in the case that the couple is cohabiting). Thai government regulations that cover this area can be divided into rules and procedures regarding registration, the principles by which the government official must take into account, as well as the manner of acquisition. Before delving into the details, the basics are as follows:
- The simplest scenario is where the Thai spouse receives land as a personal gift. Where the government official has investigated the matter and it appears that the Thai spouse is receiving the gift as personal or separate property, the acquisition of land may be registered without any further procedural requirements.
- If the Thai spouse purchases the land, the procedures differ as to whether the foreign spouse is currently in Thailand or outside of Thailand:
- Where the foreign spouse is in Thailand: If the spouses are lawfully married, then they must both submit a signed writing according to the designated government form that the entire amount of money used to purchase the land is the separate property of the Thai spouse alone and is not marital property. If the spouses have not registered their marriage, then they must both submit a signed writing as in the previous case, but in this case it must specify that the funds to purchase the property is the personal property of the Thai spouse and is not money that was acquired through their combined efforts.
- Where the foreign spouse is outside of Thailand: The foreign spouse may prepare a signed writing according to the designated government that the entire amount of money used to purchase the land is the separate property or personal property of the Thai spouse alone and is not marital property or property that was acquired through the combined efforts of both spouses.
- In the above cases, it is not necessary for the the Land Official to investigate the occupation and income of the Thai spouse or the source of the funds.
- In the case where the Thai spouse is able to offer evidence proving that the funds to be used to purchase the land are separate or personal property according to Section 1471 and 1472 of the Civil and Commercial Code, then it will not be necessary for the spouses to make any signed writing as detailed above.
Thai law and government regulations are complex. If you or your Thai spouse are planning to invest in land in Thailand, then it is advised that you consult with competent legal counsel first.
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