Ownership of Property through a Thai Spouse
There are many foreign nationals in Thailand who are married to a Thai spouse. The foreign national has obtained a long term visa and wants to purchase property in Thailand. Many foreign nationals who want to own property have purchased the property through their Thai spouse. Foreign nationals believe that since the property is purchased during the marriage, the property is jointly owned.
Property Ownership in Thailand
The problem is that foreigners are not allowed to co-own land in Thailand even with their spouse. If a Thai national is married to a foreign national, the land department will not allow the Thai national to register the property without evidence that the land was purchased by the Thai national with personal assets. This is usually in the form of a joint declaration between the foreign national and the Thai spouse. The declaration states that the Thai spouse purchase the land with their own personal funds.
The result of the statement is that the foreign spouse has no claim to the property. The Thai spouse has the right to sell, mortgage, transfer, or exchange the property without the consent of the foreign national. Real property (land) can never become marital property and will always be the separate property of the Thai spouse. However, property on top of the real estate such as a house can be jointly owned by a foreign national and a Thai spouse.
Other Issues about Property Ownership for Foreigners
There are also issues if a foreign national wants to purchase a condo unit in Thailand. A condominium development can sell units to foreign nationals as long as the foreign ownership does not exceed 49% of the total condominium development. If a condo unit is purchased by a Thai national married to a foreign national, the condo unit is considered to be foreign-owned. If the married couple issues a joint statement that the Thai spouse used their separate property funds to purchase the condominium unit, the condominium unit will be considered Thai owned.
The problem with purchasing real estate through a Thai spouse is that in the event of a divorce, the real estate may be considered the separate property of the Thai spouse. If the foreign national attempts to state that the money that was used to purchase the real estate was from their separate property, the foreign national risks criminal charges for filing false statements with a government official. An experienced Thai family attorney may be able to convince the court otherwise.
If you have questions about purchasing of immovable property through your Thai wife, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced Thai attorney. Our Thai property attorney can provide you with advice on the best methods to achieve your goals and also warn you of any potential pitfalls. Please contact us or call us at +66 2259 8100 if you have any questions.
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Siam Legal is an international law firm with experienced lawyers, attorneys, and solicitors both in Thailand law and international law. This Thailand law firm offers comprehensive legal services in Thailand to both local and foreign clients for Litigation such as civil & criminal cases, labor disputes, commercial cases, divorce, adoption, extradition, fraud, and drug cases. Other legal expertise of the law firm varied in cases involving corporate law such as company registration & Thailand BOI, family law, property law, and private investigation.