Divorce in Thailand
Marriage is formally terminated through a divorce. Divorce formally ends the rights and obligations of both spouses in the marriage.
Divorce under Thai law means the dissolution of a marriage by the judgment of a court on any of the grounds for divorce as provided in Section 1516 of the Civil and Commercial Code or by the Amphur (local district office) in Thailand upon a mutual consent by the spouses. The district office having jurisdiction of the registration of the marriage shall likewise have jurisdiction or authority to dissolve a marriage in case of divorce by mutual consent of the husband and the wife.
Section 1516 of the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand provides for the following grounds for divorce which seek judgment from the court:
Divorce on mutual consent is filed with the Amphur (local District Office). A divorce before the Amphur in Thailand only requires an agreement to divorce between both spouses. This agreement includes but not limited to the provisions on the division of marital properties or jointly owned assets, custody of children and, if any, how much alimony will be paid. A prenuptial agreement, at this point, could be very helpful in arriving at a settlement as the pre-nuptial agreement had already specified the terms as agreed by the parties in the event that they decide to end their marriage in divorce.
In the event that there is no settlement that has been reached by the parties, each party can file a petition (only on the grounds given in the Civil and Commercial Code) for the dissolution of the marriage by the court and the court will decide pertaining to the issues presented before the court. Should a prenuptial agreement be presented in evidence, the court will determine the validity and enforceability thereof.
Section 1465 Civil and Commercial Code: ‘Any clause in the prenuptial agreement contrary to public order or good morals, or provided that the relations between them as regards such properties are to be governed by foreign law shall be void’.
Divorce by mutual consent of the parties is most common and preferable as this type of divorce seemingly is not as costly and time consuming. However, this uncontested divorce requires the personal appearances of both parties before the local district office.