A divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. There are two kinds of divorce in Thailand, contested and uncontested.
A contested divorce is when one or both parties to the marriage cannot reach an agreement to end the marriage. A contested divorce will normally take longer and be more expensive than a divorce by mutual consent.
1. Filing for Divorce by Mutual Consent
If both parties agree to end their marriage and have no disputes then an uncontested divorce can be registered at the local district office (known as khet in Bangkok or amphoe in the provinces). The couple will need to present marriage related documents for registration.
We strongly recommend that you consult with a Thai lawyer to draft your divorce agreement and ensure that it meets the requirements of Section 1516 of the Civil and Commercial Code. This includes the requirement for 2 competent witnesses.
2. Filing for Divorce by Court Order
If both spouses are in agreement to divorce and the terms are agreed upon, an uncontested divorce can be registered at the District Office (Khet in Bangkok or Amphoe in the provinces) where the marriage was originally registered. GPS Legal does not recommend this option as it can potentially be risky for a foreign party.
A contested divorce is one where there are lawful grounds to terminate the marriage and the parties cannot agree on issues such as marital property division or child custody. This is normally a court divorce.
3. Filing for Divorce by Administrative Registration
If both parties agree to end their marriage and there is no contested issue, they can file for an administrative divorce. This type of divorce is faster and less complicated than a contested divorce.
When a couple divorces in Thailand, all marital property is divided equally while personal properties remain to the individual. Common debts are also settled by the court.
For foreigners, this process is more complex and often requires the services of a Thai family lawyer. This can be costly and time consuming.
4. Filing for Divorce by Mutual Consent at the Local Amphur
A divorce by mutual consent is also referred to as an administrative or uncontested divorce. However, this type of divorce can only be obtained by spouses who can reach a settlement regarding the division of property and any child custody issues.
The spouses must sign the divorce agreement in front of the Family officer and register it with the local amphur. This is a simple procedure but requires that both parties agree on certain subjects like child custody and the division of property.
5. Filing for Divorce by Court Order at the District Office
If you and your spouse have no dispute about child custody or the division of property, you can file for an administrative registration divorce at a district office. However, you should note that the law only recognises assets acquired before marriage as separate assets. In addition any contract made during the marriage (like a loan or a gift) regarding personal assets can be voided due to undue enrichment.
In this type of divorce, both parties must be present during the registration process. This is different from a court divorce where the case would be filed in the Thailand courts.
6. Filing for Divorce by Administrative Registration at the District Office
If you are a foreigner and registered your marriage in Thailand you can get an administrative divorce. It is a quicker and simpler process than going through a contested divorce.
In this type of divorce, the spouses agree to end their marriage. However, they may still disagree on matters such as child custody, the division of assets, and alimony. If there is a disagreement on these issues, then they must file for a contested divorce. A contested divorce is conducted in court and takes considerably more time and money to register.
7. Filing for Divorce by Mutual Consent at the Local Amphur
When a couple divorces by mutual consent, they are able to alter their settlement normally required by law. However, debts incurred during marriage are still the responsibility of the spouse.
Generally, couples opt for a divorce by mutual consent as it is faster, less expensive and does not require them to attend court. The divorce must be registered at the district office where the marriage was originally registered. Both spouses must be present during the registration process.
8. Filing for Divorce by Court Order at the District Office
A divorce agreement is a contract between the divorcing spouses on issues such as the division of shared property, child custody, visitation and alimony. This can save both parties time and money in court proceedings.
A contested divorce is when one or both spouses are against the end of their marriage and need the courts to decide on important issues such as division of assets, joint debts, custody of children and any necessary alimony settlements. A contested divorce will normally take more time, effort and physical court appearances than an uncontested divorce.