Divorce is a common, yet very stressful event for anyone who is married. It can be a difficult and often heartbreaking time for everyone involved, especially children. However, a divorce should never be rushed and should always be handled in the most appropriate way.
It is important to get adequate knowledge and advice before taking any steps towards divorce in Thailand as this can save a lot of money and hassle later on. This is particularly true for people who are new to Thailand and do not have a lawyer to guide them through the process.
There are two main types of divorce in Thailand; contested and uncontested.
Contested divorce is a judicial or court divorce which involves the intervention of the courts in order to terminate a marriage. This type of divorce is necessary in cases where parties disagree on important conjugal issues such as child custody and sharing of marital property.
The couple must have been married for a minimum of one year to be eligible for this kind of divorce. If the marriage has been less than a year, then an agreement to end the marriage must be signed and certified by at least two witnesses.
If you are going through a divorce in Thailand and have children, then a custody agreement can be made. This will detail the arrangements for the children including who gets to make decisions for them and the rights of the parents in relation to alimony, child support and visitation rights.
This will be in a written form that can be registered with the Thai Family Courts. This will ensure that the courts have all the relevant information in order to be able to make a decision on the custody issue and other related matters.
In a contested divorce, the couple may need to hire a lawyer who can prepare the pleadings and represent them at the hearings. These will be held in the Family Courts and fees are charged to cover expenses for conducting the proceedings.
During a contested divorce, the courts will also have to decide on the division of assets and properties. These will be divided based on the laws of Thailand and the individual circumstances of each party.
All assets acquired during the course of the marriage will be shared evenly unless both parties agree to otherwise. All personal property that was owned before the marriage will remain in the name of the owner.
The distribution of assets is not difficult to understand but there are some special considerations for foreigners in Thailand and this should be discussed with a lawyer before proceeding.
If you are planning to get a divorce in Thailand and have children, it is important to seek the help of an experienced divorce lawyer before making any decisions as this can be extremely complex. A good Thai divorce lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and protect your rights.
It is important to know that if you are a foreigner and a Thai divorce lawyer cannot speak English, then your case will be very difficult and could take a long time to resolve. In this scenario it is advisable to have a bilingual agreement in place so that you are fully covered in the event of a divorce.