Under the Thai Civil and Commercial Code, divorce is permitted in two cases:
By Mutual Consent: Getting divorce in Thailand is as simple as registering your marriage. If you are married in Thailand at a local Registrar office you may register an administrative divorce. Divorce by mutual consent must be made in writing with at least two witnesses. This type of divorce is possible only if the couple has no disagreements over such issues as children or property. The divorce documents and a summary completing the form are available from the local District Office. All documents are in Thai. A divorce certificate will be issued by the registrar office. The process can be completed in one day at the local district office.
Note: Divorce by mutual consent only applies if the couple was married in Thailand. If they married outside Thailand, then they may file for mutual divorce in Thailand only if one partner is a Thai national and their marriage was also registered under Thai law.
By Court Order: If the divorce is contested or one party is not present, then you should proceed to the courts for a divorce. There are 10 grounds for divorce under Thai law. If you are overseas, you may appoint a lawyer to act on your behalf during the initial procedure; however, once a court date is set, you must appear before the court in Thailand. Any documents not in Thai will need to be translated and notarized by your embassy in Bangkok. This process can take up to one year.
Grounds for Divorce in Thailand
If one party will not agree to a divorce by mutual consent, then you need to file with the courts for a divorce. In order to proceed with a divorce in this instance you will need to assert grounds for divorce and make a personal appearance in court. Grounds for divorce in Thailand include the following circumstances:
- A spouse is guilty of misconduct that inflicts serious shame, insult or injury on their partner and cohabitation is no longer possible
- A spouse has caused serious harm or torture to the body or mind of their partner, or has seriously insulted their parents
- A spouse has abandoned their partner for longer than one year
- A spouse has disappeared
- A spouse has failed to provide proper maintenance and support to their partner, and cohabitation is no longer possible
- A spouse has been suffering from a serious mental illness for at least three years
- There has been a breach of the good behaviour bond
- A spouse is suffering from a contagious and dangerous disease which is incurable and may cause injury to the other
- A spouse has a physical handicap and is permanently unable to cohabit as husband and wife.
Managing your properties after divorce
Thailand operates under Community Property jurisdiction; when a couple divorces in Thailand, separate property, namely assets and property acquired before marriage, generally remains the property of the owner. Assets and property acquired during marriage are usually considered community property with both spouses having an ownership right. The rules regarding division of property are complex and the Thai Courts will divide the property according to the law and individual facts of the case.
Debts incurred during the marriage, whether they are household, medical or educational, are normally considered the responsibility of both parties.