Thailand is one of the countries in Asia that legally allows divorce, that is, dissolving the marriage by the judgment of a court on one of the 12 grounds for divorce as stipulated in Section 1516 of the Civil and Commercial Code or by the Amphur or local municipality office in Thailand. The divorce proceeding is only possible upon a joint request and mutual consent by the husband and wife.
The Amphur is the district administrative office of the government that is responsible in the registration of marriages and therefore have the authority to dissolve in case of a divorce filed on mutual consent. In Bangkok, Amphur is called “Khet”.
The finality of the divorce proceedings includes divorce settlement conditions as approved by the court. An arrangement must be made in the divorce settlement regarding parental rights and financial support or contribution to the maintenance of involved children. If there are no provisions on these, the court will determine the provisions.
Approval or granting of divorce on grounds of adultery includes ruling on compensation to be awarded to the innocent spouse. If divorce is decided upon based on the fault of only one spouse, the aggrieved spouse may claim for living allowance. This right becomes void if the spouse receiving the allowance remarries.
Thailand implements a community property law. This means that any property acquired during marriage is considered shared or community property. Any property acquired before the marriage is not considered community property.
In general, after divorce, the property of the husband and wife is subject to liquidation unless there is prior agreement otherwise. Property owned on the date of registration of the divorce or the date the divorce was filed in court is subject to liquidation. Any common or community property is divided equally between the husband and the wife. This ruling may only change if the husband and wife had agreed to a different sharing scheme of the properties involved.
The rules on the property division are complex and subject to some interpretation, in which the Thai courts will divide the property according to the law and specific facts of the case.
Any debt incurred during the marriage – household, medical, or educational, are normally the responsibility of both parties.
All divorce settlement conditions will be overturned by a prenuptial agreement. This is allowed in Thailand provided the husband and wife comply with the procedural requirements of Thai Law. Validity of the prenuptial agreement is based on a properly executed document – signed by both parties, two witnesses and must be registered with the local district office prior to the marriage.