Divorce, a word to describe as the end of a marriage or a separation of the bond between a husband and wife. As of the year 2019, there were about 128.51 thousand registered divorces in Thailand. A study found that 75% of marriages in the world ended because of a lack of commitment and 59.6% because of infidelity.
Some people may view Divorce as unnecessary, some people view it as an unethical way to deal with a problem with the person you love, and married. Well, divorce has reasons as to why it is present and practiced. It somehow saves the lives of some, it is an option for those people who are stuck in an unhealthy, toxic, and dangerous relationship. In short, it is an escape for those who need it.
There are also other reasons as to why marriages come to an end even after years of love, care, and support. Numerous valid reasons as to why spouses would take action and get a divorce. And when one has enough of some of those reasons, what can a spouse do? How do you divorce in Thailand?
Types of Divorce
Before proceeding to the steps on how to divorce, one must be knowledgeable of the types of divorce in Thailand. There are 2 general types of divorce in Thailand:
- Administrative Divorce/ Uncontested Divorce
It is a divorce that is registered under the local government office in Thailand. This is also called a “no-fault” divorce. It is generally the type of divorce where couples are in agreement of such decisions made, which is the easier type of divorce to manage. What are those agreements? Agreements were made in terms of property divisions, child custody, child support, and even spousal support.
- Court Divorce / Judicial Divorce/ Contested Divorce
This is a divorce filed under Thai court. This type of divorce is much more complicated than the other. It is a divorce where spouses cannot agree on their divorce issues. When spouses are in a disagreement, the Thai court will do it for them, unlike the other type of divorce where the spouses can have power when it comes to dividing their properties.
Grounds for Divorce
In Thailand, divorce law requires a spouse to be at fault, accusing that spouse to be giving reasons as to why the other filed a divorce. In order to be granted a divorce, one’s reason must fall under at least one or more of these legal reasons to be proven by evidence:
- If the partner lives separately or has left home for more than 3 years.
- If the partner has isolated/deserted the partner for a year.
- If the partner has taken another partner to be his wife/husband.
- If the partner has committed adultery.
- If the partner is guilty of misconduct. This includes criminal offenses that result in physical and psychological harm.
- If the partner has been sentenced and has been imprisoned for over a year.
- If the partner is causing serious harm to his/ her partner, physical or psychological.
- If the partner has failed or has lacked marital support to the other. Or failed to give proper maintenance to the partner.
- If the partner has been insane for over 3 years continuously and was not cured.
- If the partner has broken the bond of good behavior.
- If the partner suffered from a communicable disease and was not cured.
- If the partner has a physical disability causing them to be permanently unable to cohabit as husband/wife.
Note: These are grounds for divorce in Court Divorce/ Contested Divorce. When it comes to Administrative Divorce, since that type of divorce is under the agreement of both sides, it just means that their divorce does not need those grounds for divorce to be divorced.
Step by Step Process
- Know the Type of Divorce
One must identify what type of divorce is fit in their situation. If you and your partner are on good terms and have agreed upon divorcing each other, one must choose the Administrative Divorce. If you and your partner are not in contact with each other or in disagreement, and your partner has committed at least one of the lists in the ground for divorce, one must subject himself/herself to the Court Divorce.
Requirements for Uncontested Divorce:
- 2 Original Marriage Certificates
- Original ID for the Thai National
- Thai party’s Tabien Baan (Household Registration Booklet or Blue Book)
- Legalized Translation of the foreigner’s passport copy (only if divorcing location is different from where the marriage is registered)
As for Contested Divorce:
- You must identify already your grounds for divorce
- Divorce Agreement
In terms of Administrative Divorce, before filing, the couple must come to terms with each other. They must plan who gets to keep certain properties. List individual properties that they are going to keep, may it be land, home property, equipment. It also including child custody and child support if there are any.
In terms of Court Divorce, in dividing property or division of property, there are 2 ways for division of property that one must know. Here are the different properties:
- One is the Separate Property or Sin Suan Tua, this is the kind of property that one had before marriage and that property automatically belongs to the one who owns it before the marriage or who owned it originally.
- The other property is the Community Property or Sin Somros, the type of property that both owned which the Thai court will decide who will own it between the two.
- Hire a Lawyer
After identifying your grounds for divorce or after identifying the properties that individuals are going to keep. Hire a divorce lawyer to help you more with the decisions and choices that you chose to file a divorce. Also, to proceed to a more effective and smoother case.
- File the Case of Divorce & Payment of Court Fees
Once everything is ready, the court fees shall be paid and the case shall proceed to its natural ways. From hearings, summoning, pre-trials, and trials. If you are filing for an Administrative Divorce, you are more likely to finish the case for only 6 months to 1 year. But if you are filing for a Court Divorce, expect that the case will finish for about 1 year to 3 years.