Family Law

Dear Sirs!

What do you need to know to get married, to protect the rights of the parties, and how do our clients interact with Family Law in Thailand?

Family law in Thailand is a part of Civil Law, based on the provisions of Book Five of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code (CCC), religious, historical, and cultural values, as well as the Constitution of the Kingdom.

The traditional Thai wedding ceremony involves a ritual with Buddhist monks and the recitation of mantras for the happiness of the engaged couple. The registration takes place at the district Civil Registration office. While it is customary to exchange offerings as a sign of intent, such as rings or other ornaments, there is no legal requirement for these procedures.

Men or women can marry at the age of 17, according to Article 1435 of the CCC. Those who wish to marry before the age of 20 require parental consent, guardianship approval, or a court decision (Articles 1436, 1448 CCC).

The spouses must not be blood relatives (Article 1450 CCC) or of the same sex, and they should not have any mental incapacity or be married to someone else. The law does not allow marriages with adopted children (Article 1451 CCC).

For non-residents, a certificate stating that you are not married can be obtained from the Consular Section of the Embassy in Bangkok. It needs to be translated into Thai and certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The marriage registration procedure takes place at the District Office.

If the planned marriage does not occur, the dowry and gifts must be returned voluntarily or by court decision. The court may also order compensation for moral and material damage from the party responsible for the failure of the marriage (Article 1439 CCC). The statute of limitations for filing such claims is six months from the date of the termination of the marriage contract (Article 1447/1 CCC).

The ownership and disposition of joint property are regulated by the legislation in the absence of a prenuptial agreement (Article 1465 CCC). Spouses’ property is divided into Sin Suan Tua (Article 1471 CCC) – acquired before the marriage, personal property for personal use, gifts, dowry Khongman (Article 1437 CCC), and Sin Somros (Article 1474 CCC) – jointly acquired property. Sin Somros assets are managed jointly by the spouses, including sales, exchanges, loans, settlements, mortgages, and real estate leases longer than three years, unless specified otherwise in the prenuptial agreement. In case of divorce, Sin Somros is divided equally, along with the liabilities.

The prenuptial agreement is registered on the day of the marriage registration in the presence of two witnesses (Article 1466 CCC). The separation of rights to personal and joint assets, the approval of behavioral patterns, liability for deviation from the conditions, compensation, warranties, and other spousal relations are the source of such agreements. Planning the future joint life and financial situation protects the parties’ rights in case of divorce but may partially undermine the romantic mood.

Experience in resolving family conflicts helps the parties to foresee contentious situations in the contract. The presence of assets of a non-resident, including in their “home” country, raises questions about providing and ensuring financial security for the parties.

The divorce rate in Thailand is relatively low. The divorce procedure has negative consequences for the female partner. Socially, it is customary for a Thai wife to be married to her husband until the end of her days, and in case of divorce, she no longer seeks new marital relations.

Legally, marital relations are terminated by the death of one of the spouses, by registering a divorce, or by court decision. In most cases, there are two forms of termination of relations: mutual consent and a court decision. The fact of the termination of relations by mutual consent is recorded at the District Office. A court decision arises when one party unilaterally wishes to terminate the marriage.

Thai legislation provides several grounds for divorce, such as marital infidelity, criminal offenses, mental disorders, living separately for more than a year, lack of family support, incurable incompetence for more than three years, dangerous disease, physical defects.

Thai lawyers in Lokart International will consult you and clarify the perspective of marital relations!