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Learn more about Thailand Family Law

Family law in Thailand is mainly codified in the Thai Civil and Commercial Code. The legal system of family law in Thailand is based on the European civil law system, with major influences from French civil law. Family law covers issues such as marriage, legal separations, contentious and non-contentious divorces, domestic and foreign adoptions, child custody and other areas. Themis Partner has a network of Thai lawyers specializing in family law assisting you in any process relating to family law, whether it is to register your marriage, draft a marriage contract, have your custody rights recognized, carry out filing for divorce, drafting a divorce agreement, adopting a child and any other necessary process.

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How to get married in Thailand?

Clients facing family disputes need a lawyer who has the ability and experience to seek them effectively. At Themis Partner, we carefully select the lawyers specializing in family law vigorously defending family matters, ensuring that legal fees are kept to a reasonable level and avoiding, as much as possible, further damage to relationships. family. Our partner lawyers provide you with advice and services in all aspects of this broad area of law. If you would like more information about our family law services, please contact us.

In Thailand, a civil marriage is legally recognized once it is registered with a district registry office. Religious or community wedding ceremonies are not enough. It is necessary to proceed with the marriage registration. It should be clarified that Thailand does not allow marriage of same-sex couples.

Couples wishing to get married in Thailand must meet the following conditions:

➤ They must be over 17 years old
➤ They should be sane and not be seen as incompetent
➤ They must not be related in a direct ascending or descending line, nor be a blood or half-blood brother or sister, that is, they must not be related to any degree prohibited
➤ They do not have to have the same adoptive parents
➤ They should not be two people of the same sex
➤ Neither of them should have a spouse at the time of marriage. If a woman whose husband is deceased or whose divorce has been pronounced, the marriage can take place only after the expiration of a period of 310 days from the death or the pronouncement of the divorce, with some exceptions

To proceed with the marriage registration, the required documents differ depending on the nationality of the spouses. If the parties are Thai nationals, they must respectively present their identity card, registration certificates of the domicile of both parties and in the context where the applicant had previously registered a marriage, he must provide proof of divorce or death of his spouse. The recording is made accompanied by two witnesses.

For foreign nationals, they must provide a copy of their passport and their arrival card. They must also send a copy of their civil status produced by their respective embassies attesting to their single status. And they must provide a translated copy of the affidavits in Thai, certified by a certified translator from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To conclude, marriage in Thailand is a simple administrative registration process by the Civil Affairs Bureau. Local authorities are competent to celebrate all marriages, regardless of the nationality of the spouses. It is then possible to have the marriage registered at a later date at the Embassy in Thailand.

Why enter into a marriage contract?

In Thailand, a Prenuptial Agreement referring to a marriage contract is a contract concluded between people before their marriage. It lists the financial assets and property of both parties and sets out their rights after marriage. Under Thai marriage laws, anything held before marriage remains personal property during the marriage of each spouse.

  1. The first advantage of a prenuptial agreement in Thailand lies in the simple proof of the property of the spouses in the event of a possible divorce in order to prevent disputes over property. By listing each party’s assets in a prenuptial agreement, the couple could avoid unnecessary disputes over the ownership of certain assets in the event of a subsequent dissolution of the marriage.
  2. The second advantage of a prenuptial agreement is the right to manage certain marital property. Indeed, it can grant to one of the spouses the exclusive right of management of the common goods.
  3. The third advantage of a prenuptial agreement is that it can indicate a possible division of property in the event of the subsequent dissolution of the marriage.

The content of the prenuptial contract cannot be contrary to the family law or to good morals. Any clause in the prenuptial agreement contrary to the legal property regime between husband and wife will be void for breach of public order. In Thailand, a prenuptial agreement cannot exclude the legal regime of personal and common property between husband and wife.

How to adopt a child in Thailand?

Adoption in Thailand is the act of legally placing an adopted child with adoptive parents other than the child’s biological parents. The effect of an adoption order is to separate the parental rights and responsibilities of the natural parents and transfer them to the adoptive parents.

The Civil and Commercial Code distinguishes domestic adoption from international adoption of a child in Thailand. The first type of adoption is only available to adoptive parents who are domiciled in Thailand. Intercountry adoption is aimed at foreign adoptive parents who wish to adopt and raise their child outside of Thailand.

To adopt a child in Thailand, the conditions differ depending on the nationality of the applicant. In the event that the applicant is a foreigner, several conditions are required:

➤ He must be over 25 years old
➤ He must be at least 15 years older than the adopted child
➤ He must have a legitimate spouse

This last condition of marriage is a condition applicable to the foreign applicant only and is not required for the Thai applicant. The foreign applicant must also be legally qualified to adopt a child under the law of the country of his domicile.

Three adoption applications are possible depending on the domicile of the foreign applicant. As a first step, a foreigner who has his domicile outside of Thailand can submit the application for Thai adoption through the competent authority of his country and non-governmental child protection agencies authorized to process with the Child Adoption Center of the Department of Social Development and Welfare (DSDW) of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand.

As a second step, the foreigner who has his domicile in Thailand, with proof of residence and registration of his property, can submit the application for Thai adoption instead of his domicile. The applicant who is domiciled in Bangkok can submit the application to the Child Adoption Center of DSDW. The applicant who resides outside of Bangkok can submit the application to the DSDW of the relevant province.

And a foreigner having his temporary domicile in Thailand and, in possession of a work permit issued by the Ministry of Labor of Thailand, having resided in Thailand for at least six months before the filing of the application and able to complete the period of six months of pre-adoption placement in Thailand, may submit the Thai adoption application to the DSDW Child Adoption Center, along with the required documents certified by their embassy or consulate in Thailand.

How to get a divorce in Thailand?

In Thailand there are two cases of divorces: uncontested divorce also called divorce by mutual consent and contested divorce.

A divorce pronounced before the Amphur (local district) requires an agreement between the two spouses on the fact of divorce and an agreement on the distribution of marital and common property, custody of the children and, if applicable, the amount of the pension. food. This is divorce by mutual consent also called uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorce is much cheaper and the procedure is much simpler. Married couples don’t have to give a reason why they want to separate. It is enough for them both to be physically present at the Amphur to express their mutual will to end the marriage. In most cases, Thais go for an uncontested divorce and settle all other matters behind closed doors in a divorce agreement.

If no agreed solution can be found between the parties, each of them may file a request for the dissolution of the marriage by the court only for the reasons provided for by the civil and commercial code:

➤ A period of voluntary separation of 3 years
➤ The spouse deserted the home for over a year
➤ The spouse has taken another person as his wife
➤ The spouse has committed adultery
➤ One of the spouses is guilty of misconduct
➤ One of the spouses caused physical or mental harm to the other
➤ Lack of maintenance and support from the spouse
➤ One spouse has seriously insulted the other spouse or their ancestors
➤ One of the partners has been suffering from incurable insanity for at least three years
➤ One of the spouses has been missing for more than three years
➤ One of the spouses broke the bond of good conduct
➤ One of the spouses has been imprisoned for over a year
➤ One of the spouses has an incurable, contagious and dangerous disease
➤ One of the spouses is physically disadvantaged so that he cannot cohabit as husband and wife

In this case, the divorce is said to be contested. Indeed, the procedure is carried out before the Thai courts which will rule on the divorce as well as the custody of the children and the distribution of property between spouses. This procedure is more expensive and longer.

How is custody of the children distributed?

Under Thailand’s Child Custody Act, both parents of a child have full custody of the child. Custody disputes between parents can arise during divorce or separation, or between unmarried parents. There is a need to differentiate between rights and procedure whether the parents are married or not.

In the case of married parents, Thai law provides that both legitimate parents have full custody of their children. However, this equality in child custody rights between the legitimate parents can be altered by a divorce court order in a Thai court or a divorce agreement enforced due to a divorce by mutual consent.

If the divorce is pronounced by court judgment, the judge in charge of the divorce case will decide who should be granted custody of the child; otherwise, the judge can appoint a third person as guardian in place of the parents if this proves to be necessary since the welfare and interests of the child are of the highest priority.

If the parent who has been granted custody rights has been recognized as incompetent, at fault, abusing his parental authority, the judge can withdraw parental authority, which can occur even after the divorce. In the exercise of abusive parental authority, the parent who does not have custody of the child or the attorney on behalf of the child can file a petition to change custody at any time.

However, for unmarried couples, biological fathers do not have custody rights, except by court order. Indeed, only the mother has parental authority and custody of the child. It is possible for the father to be recognized as a legitimate parent and thus to obtain parental authority in the following three cases:

➤ Subsequent marriage
➤ Registration
➤ Judicial decision

If one of the above situations occurs, the father can exercise his custody rights. Regarding registration, the father must register a legitimation of the child in Thailand with the local district office. The mother and the child must consent to the registration of this legitimation. In the event of silence or lack of consent, the father must request a judicial decision.

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