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Divorce in Thailand

Normally, couples who agree to divorce will make an administrative divorce registration at the district office. However, this is only possible if the couple has registered their marriage at the government office and there are no disagreements on any matters including property division.

Moreover, the divorce agreement must be signed by 2 witnesses. A court order is required to obtain a legalized divorce which will be recognized in other jurisdictions.

File a Petition for Divorce

In Thailand, there are two types of divorce: an administrative registration at a district office (Khet or Amphur) or a contested divorce in a court of law. In an administrative divorce, both spouses need to agree on all issues relating to the marriage such as the division of property and maintenance. In a contested divorce, the matters pertaining to children are settled following a compulsory appearance by both parties and their child/children at the Juvenile Observation and Protection Center.

If either party is a foreigner, they will need to be represented by a Thai family lawyer in the case of a contested divorce. A contested divorce will require a more complex and often longer process than an administrative divorce. Therefore, it is often preferable to draw up a divorce settlement agreement with the help of a lawyer.

Serve the Respondent

Upon receipt of the Petition for Divorce, the respondent must be served. This can be done by giving a copy of the petition to the respondent or by mail, fax, or email.

If the spouses are in mutual agreement that they want to end their marriage then an administrative divorce can be registered at a District Office (“Khet” or “Amphur”) provided that certain requirements are met. This is a quicker and cheaper option than a contested court divorce.

However, there are important considerations in relation to this type of divorce for international people – such as whether it will be recognized by the spouse’s home country or by immigration authorities. This is especially important when a prenuptial agreement was signed during the marriage.

File a Summon

In a divorce proceeding, the plaintiff (husband or wife) files a lawsuit to end their marriage in the court where the case originated or where the defendant lives. The suit can also include claims on marital properties if the case is contested.

If the spouses are in agreement over their divorce, an administrative divorce registration can be done at the district office. It is a much easier procedure than a contested divorce. This type of divorce is only possible if the marriage was legally registered in Thailand.

If the Defendant is not in the country, the judge will expect that you do your best to find him/her by contacting friends and relatives, social media contacts, and other sources that may lead you to his/her location. This is known as doing your due diligence and is an important part of your case.

Attend a Hearing

Divorce by mutual consent is an administrative divorce that can be completed in one day and only requires couples who married in Thailand (or registered their marriage in Thailand) to go together to the district office where they registered their marriage. If all documentation is in order, this type of divorce is fast and costs 50 baht.

A contested divorce is a judicial or court divorce and is required when there are disagreements over some or all aspects of the marriage, such as custody or sharing of property. There are many grounds to file for a contested divorce, including 3 years of separation, one year desertion, adultery, and/or misconduct whereby the spouse was insulted or harmed by the other or his/her ascendants. A contested divorce is conducted in court and will require both parties to attend the hearing.

Sign a Decree of Divorce

If both parties agree on the divorce terms they can choose to register an administrative divorce at their local district office (“Khet or Amphur”). There are a number of requirements and this type of divorce is often considered an uncontested divorce.

This option can be beneficial if the spouses are in agreement with each other on everything like child custody, property, etc. However, it is important that both spouses personally attend the registration process. It is also important that a lawyer be present to act as an advocate for the foreign spouse.

In a divorce case filed through the court, there are additional fees to pay including a court filing fee and a court delivery fee. Additionally, if the divorce lawsuit also seeks claims for marital property a court fee will be calculated at 2% of the total claim amount.

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