Marriage is difficult for a Thai and a Westerner. The differences between language and cultures can attract individuals with fresh new ideas. It can also create a chasm that leads to the breakup of the relationship. Sometimes, the couple has just grown apart. In other relationships, it is one party’s destructive behavior which destroys the marriage.
There are two avenues for divorce in Thailand. They can go to the local provincial government to register their divorce if the parties agree on the divorce and the terms of the divorce. Divorces made by mutual consent (see uncontested divorce) must be put in writing and certified by the signatures of at least two witnesses. The divorce statement must contain the terms of the divorce and filed at the place where the marriage is registered. The couple must bring the signed divorce agreement, original marriage certificate, and government identification documents to the Amphur when filing the divorce.
If there is disagreement, the divorce process is more complex. The divorce must go through the court system (see contested divorce). Thai law only allows divorce under certain grounds. The petition for divorce must allege one of the following grounds for divorce:
- Adultery by a party
- Misconduct inflicts shame, insult, or injury to the other party
- Physical or mental Abuse to the spouse or the spouse’s parents
- Deserted or has been Imprisoned for over a year
- Lived separately for more than three years
- One of the parties has disappeared
- Failure to financially support the marriage and the parties can no longer live together
- Mentally incapacitated for more than three years
- Broken a bond of good behavior
- A communicable and dangerous disease which is incurable and may cause injury to the other party
- A physical injury which make them incapable of cohabiting as husband and wife
In order to file a non-agreed divorce, one party needs to file the divorce in Family Court. The other party has to be provided notice of the divorce and served with the divorce filing. The parties will be sent to mediation after the first hearing. If there is an agreement on the terms of the divorce, the agreement will be submitted to the court for their signature.
If there is no agreement, the case will be set for trial. After the trial, the court will render judgment on the divorce within 30 days of trial. It is recommended that a party seeks the assistance of an attorney prior to beginning the process. Call Siam Legal for experienced English speaking family law attorneys.