FAMILY LAW ON MARRIAGE
According to the prevailing laws in Thailand, a man and a woman can get marriage at the age of seventeen (17) and a marriage shall become lawfully recognized once registered at a competent District Office (Ampur). However, there are stipulations that the court will not allow such union if any of the following conditions is present:
1. If either bride or groom is insane or adjudged incompetent;
2. If they are blood related;
3. If they are related as brother or sister whether full or half blood;
4. If one or both of them have a spouse already; and
5. If they have an adopter- adopted relationship.
In case the marriage between Thai couples or Thai-foreigner couples is to be registered in a foreign country, their marriage will still be recognized under Thai Law provided that they also register their marriage at the Thai consulate or embassy in the country where the marriage takes place.
FAMILY LAW ON PROPERTY OF HUSBAND AND WIFE
Regarding each spouse’s personal property, it is stipulated under Thai Law that if there is no Prenuptial Agreement specifying otherwise, the property is considered to be “Sin Suan Tua” or Personal Property. These properties are properties acquired before marriage such as dress or ornament or tools and equipments as well as property acquired by either spouse during marriage through inheritance or as a personal gift i.e. Khong-Man (Marriage Price).
On the contrary, if it is the property acquired during or after marriage, it is considered to be “Sin Somros” or Community or Marital Property. These properties acquired by either spouse during marriage can include the fruits of each spouse’s personal property.
In case marriage has been adjudged VOID, the property possessed or acquired by either party before or after the marriage as well as the fruits thereof shall remain as that party’s personal property. For the property jointly earned or acquired during the marriage, it will be divided equally between the parties.
FAMILY LAW ON DIVORCE
Divorce or the dissolution of marriage is the final termination of marriage canceling all the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between two married people.
Thai divorce can be classified into two:
Divorce by Mutual Consent or Uncontested Divorce – If husband and wife decide to end their marriage amicably, they would just have to visit the same Amphur where they registered their marriage to formalize and legalize the dissolution of their marriage. The process can be done in a day. Divorce agreement concerning child custody, spouse maintenance and division of property can be drafted in advance so that it will be registered at the Amphur when consummating the divorce.
Contested Divorce – If divorce by mutual consent is not possible because the other party refuses to divorce or can’t be located or contacted for divorce, one can file a contested divorce with the court based on various grounds.
Grounds for divorce in Thailand are as follows:
1. When either spouse has taken another man or woman other than the legal spouse;
2. Either husband or wife is guilty of misconduct;
3. Either husband or wife abused the other person or seriously insulted his or her ascendants;
4. Either one spouse deserted the other spouse for more than one year;
5. Either one spouse has been adjudged to have disappeared or left his or her domicile or residence for more than three years and it’s uncertain whether he or she is alive or dead;
6. Either one spouse failed to give proper maintenance and support to the other;
7. Either one spouse has been insane for more than three consecutive years;
8. Either one spouse is suffering from a communicable and dangerous disease which is incurable and may cause injury to the other;
9. Either one spouse has a physical disadvantage so as to be permanently unable to cohabit as husband and wife.
According to the Civil and Commercial Code, the termination of marriage by divorce may be executed only if there is mutual consent from both parties or by judgment of the court and it must be processed at the District Office where the marriage was registered. In the event either one spouse does not agree to divorce, the other party may file a divorce to the court.
After everything has been settled, the property of the husband and wife shall be separated. The personal property acquired before marriage will remain to the party concerned and the marriage property jointly earned or acquired during the marriage shall be divided equally between husband and wife.