Different countries around the world have their distinct divorce laws except for two countries, one in Europe and one in Southeast Asia. Distinct because their divorce laws and the circumstances in which a divorce can be based for it to be granted or not differ from one country to another.
In Thailand, there can be three (3) ways in which a marriage can be voided: it can be because of death, a court decision or divorce. Further, a divorce can either be the less costly uncontested divorce or the financially draining contested divorce.
Contested vs Uncontested Divorce
Couples can choose which type of divorce they can avail of if ever they decide to end their marriage. Both Thai nationals and foreigners may apply for either of the divorce options provided that requirements therein are satisfied.
- Contested Divorce – or the judicial divorce is a type of divorce which can be an option for a party in marriage whose spouse is not amiable to end their marriage through uncontested means. This is the type of divorce for those couples who are in disagreement over child custody or reassignment of conjugal properties.This is emotionally, physically and financially draining for both parties as it is subject to applicable fees and appearances before the court may be required.
Marriages not registered in Thailand may also avail of judicial divorce.
- Uncontested Divorce – of the two types of Thai divorce, this type of divorce is relatively straight forwarded thus it is less costly. Also called an administrative divorce, couples wishing to sever their marital ties must make sure that their marriages are fully registered in Thailand at the district office or at any of its consuls or embassies around the world if they have foreign nationalities.
Divorce and Citizenship
- Both parties are Thai nationals – Thais favor the uncontested type of divorce as an escalation of conflict is avoided.
- Thai and Foreigner – as mentioned above, Thais are generally inclined to choose uncontested divorce. Before starting with the proceedings, foreigners with Thai spouses must make sure that this type of divorce is recognized in their home countries otherwise more issues may arise when it is not.
- Both are foreigners – a divorce between foreign nationals in Thailand is possible. However, they must make sure that their divorce in the Kingdom, regardless of type, is recognized in their home country or countries.
Regardless of divorce type nor nationality, parties going into a divorce must heed for advice by a competent divorce lawyer in Thailand to ensure the following:
- Their rights and interests are protected under law as the proceedings prosper until it reaches its conclusion.
- Their divorce in Thailand is recognized in their home country.
A divorce does not end when the judicial decision has been released nor their marriage has ended when both parties sign their divorce agreement. A divorce can only be considered completed and thereby be recognized by Thailand or by a sovereign country if and when it has been registered at an Amphur or district office.
If one party opt not to register his or her recently concluded divorce, he or she may be compelled to obtain a court order against the other party in order to enforce their divorce and effectively end their marriage.