Child custody mediation and child custody litigation are the two options that you have. Most divorce cases in Thailand tend to get stuck in litigation over child custody as well as property. It is not common however before child custody litigation you can try mediation. It is much cheaper as well as faster. Most issues tend to be about access to children and also the continual fight over money and maintenance.
Mediation has many advantages such as lower cost as well as a shorter period of time to find a common solution. It’s a bit of horse-trading as you don’t always walk away with what you wanted in full. It does however allow you to trade one aspect of the divorce for another. Spousal maintenance can become an issue as the woman might not have had the standard of living. This compared to before the marriage compared to what she had afterward.
This varies from person to person. A few examples of this type of mediation would be the following examples:
John was married to Lek, and when they decided to get divorced they opted for mediation as not one of them wanted to add to the divorce the cost of litigation. Lek at first wanted spousal maintenance with full custody of the children. During mediation they came to the agreement that Lek will look after the children and John will pay child maintenance for his children.
Once a year he would come to Thailand for visiting them and be allowed to take them out during the school holidays to see more of Thailand without leaving the country. They also agreed that once the children reached the age of 16 he could take them to see the United Kingdom. John however refused to negotiate around spousal support as Lek was well qualified and had a high-paying job in Bangkok. Lek agreed in the end to John paying for her MBA as a once-off settlement. The cost of reaching the settlement was minimal and took less than a week to agree to and to draft their agreement for them.
Litigation is costly mainly because of the hiring of a private investigator, psychologist, and the attorney’s time going to and from the court. These costs do add up and one has to be realistic as to the outcome. If there is no mediation, then litigation is the next option. Take the following example:
Bob is getting divorced from Nui and he is divorcing her as she has a gambling addiction. She has not worked in many years and refuses to contribute to the household. Mediation did not help much as Bob felt that his children would be better off in his home country. The litigation dragged on for two years however during this time there was the cost of litigation. This, as well as additional costs as the court, wanted psychological evaluations of the children at a designated hospital. The Family Court in the end gave him full custody and he took his children back to Australia. The Thai courts are the final arbitrator when an agreement cannot be reached. You will need to make a strong case for custody. The courts look at what is best for the child irrespective of nationality.
If you are going to litigate or mediate then ensure that you get a good family lawyer in Thailand and that you are able to prove that you would make a better parent than your ex-wife or any other family member which may also offer to look after the children.
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