Marriage Annulment

Marriage Annulment

Marriage Annulment

Annulment of marriage in Thailand

Unlike divorce, which ends a marriage that was once valid, an annulment states that a marriage was never legal from the start. This means the marriage never truly existed in the eyes of the law.Here are some reasons why a marriage in Thailand might be annulled:

Pre-existing legal barriers:

Bigamy/Polygamy: One or both spouses were already married to someone else when they got married again. Having multiple spouses is against the law in Thailand, so any marriages involving more than one spouse are automatically not recognized.

When a person gets married while they already have a spouse, it breaks the law (Section 1452 of the Civil and Commercial Code). This makes the marriage invalid according to Section 1495. If someone cares about it, they can ask the court to say the marriage isn’t valid (Section 1497). Supreme Court Judgment No. 6186/2002

- Age:

One or both spouses were too young to legally marry at the time, which is currently 17 years old in Thailand with parental permission and 20 without it.

The Supreme Court didn’t agree with the decision made by the girl, Y., who wasn’t even 15 yet. Even though she got married the traditional way with J., she was still considered underage. According to the Civil and Commercial Code, Section 20, because she wasn’t legally allowed to get married before she turned seventeen, and there was no proof that she got permission from the court. Her marriage wasn’t done according to the rules stated in the Civil and Commercial Code, Section 1448, or registered properly under Section 1457. Supreme Court Judgment No. 6035/2541

- Mental Incapacity:

One spouse was not mentally capable of agreeing to marriage.

Defendant No. 3 won’t register his marriage with Plaintiff No. 1, saying Plaintiff No. 1 isn’t completely mentally sound and is like someone with mental disabilities. But there isn’t enough evidence to show that Plaintiff No. 1 is like this, which would be a good reason not to register the marriage. So, the defendant broke the engagement agreement. Supreme Court Judgment No. 483/1990

- False consent:

One or both spouses agreed to the marriage because of lies, threats, or pressure.

The plaintiff (person filing the case) is saying that the defendant (other person) forced her to come from Samut Prakan province to Chachoengsao province against her will. The defendant threatened the plaintiff, and she was kept there for 12 days, unable to leave. During this time, the plaintiff was also sexually assaulted. Even though they got married, the plaintiff still felt controlled by the defendant.

She was scared because the defendant threatened not to take her home and to hurt her if she didn’t agree to register the marriage. Any person in this situation would be scared and feel like she had no choice but to do what the defendant wanted. Because of this, the plaintiff believes the marriage was not real and shouldn’t be considered legal.

She says she only agreed to get married because of the threats and wouldn’t have done it otherwise. They claim the marriage is void, meaning it never truly happened, according to Section 1507(1) of the Civil and Commercial Code. Likewise see also the definition of marriage in Thailand. Supreme Court Judgment No. 6868/1999

- Hidden information:

One spouse kept important information secret (like having a serious illness or a criminal past) that would have changed the other spouse’s mind about getting married.

The defendant didn’t want to register marriage in Thailand with the plaintiff without any argument. They had a big wedding with many guests, and they were already living together as husband and wife. The breakup caused embarrassment and damage to the female defendant’s honor and reputation. Both the plaintiff and the defendant lived together, but things weren’t smooth because they had to work in different provinces.

Instead of trying to understand and work things out as a married couple, the plaintiff accused the defendant of deceit for not registering the marriage, even though there was no agreement about it before. So, it’s not fair to say that one significant event made the plaintiff unfit to marry the defendant. They both didn’t see marriage registration as more important than just living together traditionally. Supreme Court Judgment No. 1366/2009

- Wrong registration:

The marriage wasn’t recorded properly as required by Thai law.

Before the Civil and Commercial Code, Book 5 came into effect, a husband and wife were legally separated and not seen as married anymore. But after Book 5 was applied, if they didn’t make a divorce letter, they’re still legally husband and wife.

The husband and underage wife who were legally married before Book 5 could ask the registrar to change the wife’s status according to Section 24 of the Family Registration Act, B.E. 2478, but they couldn’t register the marriage under the Civil and Commercial Code. So, the wife can ask the court to cancel the marriage registration. Supreme Court Judgment No. 69/2516

- Forbidden relationships:

– Incest:

The spouses are too closely related, like parents and children or siblings. There are not many cases in the Thai legal system where this has occurred.

Same-sex marriage: Although same-sex marriages aren’t recognized in Thailand, an annulment might be requested if a marriage ceremony happened under the belief it was legal.

Much like the case in incest there are not any to find in the case law to use an example. It’s important to understand that getting an annulment can be complicated and might need a court case. Talking to a Thai lawyer who knows the law is important to know what you can do, get proof, and deal with the legal system properly.

Also, remember that even if a marriage is annulled, there might still be legal problems like dividing property the couple got while together and deciding what happens with any children born during the relationship.

Reasons for Divorce in Thailand

Section 1516 of the Civil and Commercial Code lays out the reasons why a couple might get a divorce. These reasons include things like adultery, cruelty, desertion, and incurable insanity. Adultery means one spouse cheats outside the marriage, while cruelty is when there’s physical or emotional abuse. Desertion happens when one partner leaves without a good reason.

Incurable insanity for divorce is when a spouse has a long-lasting mental illness that makes the marriage impossible. Section 1516 helps couples who want to end their marriage have a clear set of rules to follow. It makes sure that divorces happen for good reasons, keeping the process fair and understandable for everyone involved. 

- You have been maintaining another person as a spouse - Section 1516 (1)

According to Section 1516 of the Civil and Commercial Code, if one party wants a divorce without the other’s agreement, they have to prove the other party did something wrong or met conditions listed in Section 1516(4/2). If both want to divorce, it has to be a real decision from both, not just one. If the situation doesn’t fit these rules, the person can’t ask for a divorce, even if they’re not living together and don’t seem to want to make up.

Even though the plaintiff tried to get a divorce many times, the defendant never wanted to. The defendant didn’t cheat or do anything wrong, unlike the plaintiff, who seemed to cheat and praised someone else as their spouse. That’s why the defendant had to ask for fairness from the authorities and compensation from the other person involved.

Although some things may have sounded harsh, they were said out of jealousy, which is normal in relationships, to protect what’s right. So, it’s not really defamation under Section 1516(3). Also, the situation isn’t about both agreeing to separate, as the plaintiff is the one who wants to be with someone else while the defendant doesn’t want to divorce. That’s why the plaintiff can’t use this as a reason for divorce. Supreme Court Judgment No. 1412/2000

- Where one party has committed misconduct - Section 1516 (2)

The defendant had a long history of gambling, despite the plaintiff’s efforts to dissuade him. Sometimes, he even pawned household items to fuel his habit, leading to financial strain. Despite facing legal consequences and warnings from the plaintiff, who was a police officer, the defendant continued to gamble, causing embarrassment and distress to the plaintiff, who had to support the family alone when the defendant’s losses left them short on money.

Considering their status as husband and wife, the plaintiff can now seek divorce from the defendant under Civil and Commercial Code, Section 1516(2)(a) and (c).

If one person seriously disgraces the other, causes them to be insulted or hated for staying married to them, or if they cause the other person a lot of trouble or harm, then considering their living situation, status, and circumstances together, the affected party can sue for divorce.

According to Section 1531, paragraph two, divorce can be registered through court judgment without the need for the defendant’s express intention. The plaintiff only needs to provide a certified true copy of the final judgment to the registrar for divorce registration under Section 16 of the Family Registration Act B.E. 2478. The court isn’t required to order the defendant to register the divorce; the judgment itself represents the defendant’s intention. Supreme Court Judgment No. 2141/2531

- Where one party has harmed either physically, mentally or insulted - Section 1516 (3)

The complaint points to grounds for divorce under Section 1516 (3) of the Civil and Commercial Code, citing defamation. This differs from a complaint accusing the defendant of defamation under the Criminal Code. According to the Criminal Procedure Code, Section 158 (5), paragraph two, defamatory statements need complete mention.

Therefore, the plaintiff’s complaint outlines that the defendant, with a stubborn and aggressive nature, disrespects the plaintiff and their elders without cause. They often use insulting or defamatory language, even in front of the plaintiff’s subordinates, which is disrespectful and defamatory. This behavior seriously disrupts the marital relationship and constitutes clear evidence for the lawsuit, making the plaintiff’s case unambiguous under the Civil Procedure Code, Section 172. Supreme Court Judgment No. 6023/2537

- Where one party has willfully deserted the other for more than 1 year - Section 1516 (4)

According to Section 1516(4) of the Civil and Commercial Code, divorce grounds involve intentional abandonment by one spouse. In this case, both the plaintiff and defendant were government employees, but the defendant didn’t relocate with the plaintiff, leading to reasonable separation grounds. Additionally, the defendant didn’t visit the plaintiff due to arguments and suspicion that the plaintiff supported another woman as his wife.

Thus, it’s unreasonable to claim the defendant abandoned the plaintiff intentionally. The property damage occurred during quarrels and suspicion, fueled by the plaintiff’s actions. The plaintiff’s failure to report the property damage suggests forgiveness. Consequently, the right to file for divorce ends as per Section 1518 of the Civil and Commercial Code. Supreme Court Judgment No. 7229/2537

- Where a person has been an adjudication of disappearance - Section 1516 (5)

There are not relevant case law which has covered this specific issue.

- Where one party has failed to provide proper assistance - Section 1516 (6)

After the marriage was registered, the defendant caused family disputes by bringing his daughter from a previous marriage to live in the same house, despite telling the plaintiff he had never been married before. (See also the case of annulment in Thailand based on deception). Moreover, the defendant stopped supporting the plaintiff’s family financially as he did previously. Consequently, the plaintiff had to use their own salary to support the defendant’s family.

Additionally, the defendant maintained contact with his ex-wife and spoke disrespectfully about the plaintiff’s mother, leading to an unbearable living situation for the plaintiff.

This lack of support and care from the defendant caused unreasonable distress for the plaintiff, justifying the divorce filing under Section 1516(6) of the Civil and Commercial Code. According to the Family Registration Act B.E. 2478, interested parties must submit a certified true copy of the final judgment to the Registrar to record the divorce in the register.

- Where one spouse is of unsound mind for more than three years - Section 1516 (7)

This section does not have any good references to legal precedence as an example. The Section however is easy enough to understand. This will be complex and you can read the article on here on the issues of divorcing your insane spouse. You will note that this is a two stage process and it is very complex.

- This where there has been a breach of the good behavior bond - Section 1516 (8)

The defendant borrowed money from others to cover expenses like the plaintiff’s legal case and the children’s education. These debts stemmed from family needs and not from the defendant’s alleged lottery playing, as claimed by the plaintiff. Therefore, they don’t qualify as misconduct under Section 1516 (2) of the Civil and Commercial Code.

The conflicts between the plaintiff and defendant are typical of marital disagreements and don’t meet the threshold for divorce under Section 1516 (3) of the Civil and Commercial Code. Even after the plaintiff’s parole, they continued the affair, prompting the defendant to scold them. However, these actions were a reaction to the plaintiff’s behavior and don’t violate the terms of probation, however could be grounds for divorce under Section 1516 (8) of the Civil and Commercial Code. Supreme Court Judgment No. 5161/2538

- Where one party has a serious communicable disease - Section 1516 (9)

There are no court cases that could be found on this as it would be very rare in Thailand.

- Where one party has a condition and unable to engage in sexual intercourse.- Section 1516 (10)

This is where one party has a physical condition and unable to engage in sexual intercourse permanently.- Section 1516 (10). Much like others there are no known cases that have been in the Supreme Court on this issue.

This provides the annulment of a marriage process and reason. This as well as the grounds for divorce in Thailand as well as examples from the Thai Supreme Court rulings.




Firstly this is how annulment in Thailand works. This translation should not be seen as legally binding or used as legal advice or guidance. This text has been provided for educational and comprehension purposes and contains no legal authority. We will assume no responsibility for any liabilities arising from the use and/or reference of this text. Speak to us online or via WhatsApp or application Line for proper legal advice. Finally, speak to our family lawyer in Bangkok if you do not fully understand how annulment and property in Thailand compares to your country. You can also the other Chapters in the Civil and Commercial Code in the country.


Section 1494

The marriage will only be void as provided for by this Chapter.

Section 1495*

If marriage was made in violation of Section 1449, Section 1450, Section 1452, and Section 1458 then it will be void.

Section 1496*

Only the judgment from a court will be an indication that the marriage made in violation of Section 1449, Section 1450 and Section 1458 is void.

Those who can apply to the court for nullification would be the spouse or the parents or descendent of the spouse. If there is nobody such as this then any person may ask a prosecutor to file the application.

Section 1497*

This section allows anyone to apply to court for a judgment to nullify a marriage that is void in terms of Section 1452. (You will note the difference between this and Section 1496)

Section 1497/1*

The court will notify the registrar after judgment to record the nullity of the marriage.

Section 1498*

The void marriage will not create a relationship between the parties to the property.

Where the marriage is void, the property and fruits of the property before or after the marriage will remain their property. The property jointly earned will be divided equally unless a court rules otherwise. The court will take into account obligations as well as earnings as well as their social status.

Section 1499*

When the marriage is void as it violates Section 1449, Section 1450, or Section 1458 it will not prejudice the rights of either party who has entered the marriage in good faith when the property was acquired through the marriage before the final judgment of nullity of the marriage.

The marriage violating Section 1452 will not prejudice the rights of either party who got married in good faith and acquired through the marriage before either party knew the cause of the nullity of the marriage. This void marriage will not allow any spouse to inherit (See: Last Will and Testament as well as Notary Public in Bangkok) in the capacity of a legal heir of the other spouse.

When the marriage is void due to Section 1449, Section 1450, or Section 1458 or Section 1452, if any spouse entered the marriage in good faith, then such person will be entitled to claim compensation. If such party now has insufficient income or property then they would be entitled to claim a living allowance. The living allowance will be governed by Section 1526 paragraph one and Section 1528.

The right to claim compensation or living allowances will be two years from the date of final judgment where there was a marriage that is void in terms of Section 1449, Section 1450, or Section 1458 or this from the date on which the cause of nullity of the marriage was known. Then again in the case of a marriage that is void due to violation of Section 1452.

Section 1499/1*

Where there is the case of nullity of marriage, the parties can reach an agreement as to parental power over the children as well as allowances for maintenance for the children. This was well as the amounts will be in writing. If this agreement cannot be reached then the courts will decide. If the courts consider that there is a cause to forfeit the parental power of the spouse under Section 1582. The courts can appoint a third party as the children’s guardian. The court will take into account the best interests of the children and the provision of Section 1521 shall apply, mutatis mutandis.

Section 1500*

The void marriage will not affect the rights of third parties acting in good faith, acquired before the nullity of the marriage has been recorded on the marriage register under Section 1497/1.


Section 1495 has been amended by the Civil and Commercial Code Amendment Act (No. 10), B.E. 2533 (1990).

Section 1496 has been amended by the Civil and Commercial Code Amendment Act (No. 10), B.E. 2533 (1990).

Section 1497 has been amended by the Civil and Commercial Code Amendment Act (No. 10), B.E. 2533 (1990).

Section 1497/1 has been added by the Civil and Commercial Code Amendment Act (No. 10), B.E. 2533 (1990).

Section 1498 has been amended by the Civil and Commercial Code Amendment Act (No. 10), B.E. 2533 (1990).

Section 1499 has been amended by the Civil and Commercial Code Amendment Act (No. 10), B.E. 2533 (1990).

Section 1499/1 has been added by the Civil and Commercial Code Amendment Act (No. 10), B.E. 2533 (1990).

Section 1500 has been amended by the Civil and Commercial Code Amendment Act (No. 10), B.E. 2533 (1990).

Thai Family Law

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