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:
- One spouse (husband or wife) has given maintenance to or honored such other person as wife or husband, committed adultery or had regular sexual intercourse with such other person, such other spouse may enter an action for divorce;
- One spouse is guilty of misconduct, notwithstanding whether such misconduct is a criminal offence or not, if it causes the other:
(a) to be seriously ashamed; (b) to be insulted of hated or account of continuance of being husband or wife of the spouse having committed the misconduct; or (c) to sustain excessive injury or trouble where the condition, position and cohabitation as
- One spouse has caused serious harm or torture to the body or mind of the other, or has seriously insulted the other or his or her ascendants, the latter may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse has abandoned the other for more than one year, the latter may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse had been sentenced by a final judgment of the Court and has been imprisoned for more than one year in the offence committed without any participation, consent or in the knowledge of the other, and the cohabitation as husband and wife will cause the other party sustain excessive injury or trouble, the latter may enter a claim for divorce;
- The husband and wife voluntarily live separately because of being unable to cohabit peacefully for more than three years, or live separately for more than three years by the order of the Court, either spouse may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse has been adjudged to have disappeared, or as left his or her domicile or residence for more than three years and being uncertain whether he or she is living or dead;
- One spouse has failed to give proper maintenance and support to the other, or committed acts seriously adverse to the relationship of husband and wife to such an extent that the other has been in excessive trouble where the condition, position and cohabitation as husband and wife are taking into consideration, the latter may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse has been an insane person for more than three years continuously and such insanity is hardly curable so that the continuance of marriage cannot be expected, the other may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse has broken a bond of good behavior executed by him or her, the other spouse may enter a claim for divorce;
- One spouse is suffering from a communicable and dangerous disease which is incurable and may cause injury to the other, the latter may file a claim for divorce;
- One spouse has a physical disadvantage so as to be permanently unable to cohabit as husband and wife, the other may enter a claim for divorce.
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.