Connect with us

Thai Life

Getting a foreign divorce in Thailand

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: Recently our firm was hired to handle a divorce case. This case was different from the typical family law divorce. The Thai couple met in the United States while attending college. They fell in love and got married in the United States. They completed their university degrees, lived in the United States for a few years, and then returned to Thailand.

After returning to Thailand, the couple began to grow apart. They separated and decided to terminate their marriage. The husband came to my office and asked a series of questions which I believe are pertinent to many couples in similar circumstances. There are many foreign couples, Thai couples, and mixed marriages living in Thailand who were married overseas and then decided to get divorced in this country. Here are some common questions:

Q) We were legally married in the United States but we never registered our marriage in Thailand. Do we need to get a divorce since we now live in Thailand?”

A) Thailand and the United States do not have a specific treaty on marriages but generally recognize marriages and divorces in both countries as long as the marriage relationship does not violate general prohibitions within each country. For example, a same sex marriage in the United States is not recognized in Thailand.

If a couple was legally married in the United States and does not violate Thai law or moral code, the marriage is recognized in Thailand. However in order to obtain certain spousal benefits, Thai nationals need to register their marriage.

Married couples who are now separated should obtain a divorce because there is the liability of something occurring in the future. They cannot get remarried since both Thailand and the United States do not allow bigamy or polygamy. The second marriage can be legally voided and the first spouse can claim a portion of the assets if the initial marriage has not been properly terminated.

Q) What do we need to do to get divorced in Thailand?

A) There are two options to obtaining a divorce in Thailand. Couples can register their foreign marriage at the local district (amphur). For marriages that have been registered at the local district and the parties agree to the divorce, the couple can go to the same distirct to register the termination of the marriage.

However for most courts in the United States to recognize a foreign divorce, it is important to ensure due process. This means that the court must have jurisdiction over the parties and proper notice must be provided. This is generally completed through an agreed divorce filed through the Thai court system where the parties submit to the jurisdiction of the court and allow a judge to issue a formal judgment.

Q) My spouse does not want her marriage and divorce to show up in Thailand. Is there another method for us to get divorced?”

A) If the marriage is not registered in Thailand, the marriage will not show up in the records. However, as stated above, this does not mean that they are not married. Legally couples who are married overseas are still married and should legally terminate their marriage.

An option is to file the divorce case through the Thai courts. While the divorce will be registered in the court records, the marriage will not be in the system.

The third option is for the parties to return to the place of marriage and obtain a divorce in that country. Every place has its own special requirements for a divorce. Most foreign courts require that at least one of the parties reside in the court’s jurisdiction for a period of time.

Q) How will the United States know if we get divorced in Thailand? Do we need to file something with the courts in the United States?

A) A Thai divorce will have to be legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and authenticated by the United States Embassy. However, a divorce or marriage does not need to be registered. It is kept by the parties as evidence of the divorce in case of future disputes.

Q) If my spouse does not cooperate with the filing of the divorce in Thailand, can we still proceed with the filing of the divorce?

A) It is possible to file a divorce for a foreign marriage in Thailand as long as all parties are provided proper notice and the court has jurisdiction over the parties. However, the process can be costly and take much longer to complete. There is also the possibility of the court not accepting the case because of the complexity of ruling over a divorce of a foreign marriage.

The dissolution of a foreign marriage is a complex undertaking. It is highly recommended that before starting the process, the parties seek counsel of a licensed Thai attorney who understands the requirements.

Additional reporting by Yuthachai Sangsirisap

Robert R. Virasin is a licensed US attorney and managing director of Virasin & Partners. Yutthachai Sangsirisap is a licensed Thai Attorney at Virasin & Partners. They can be reached at info@virasin.com or at www.virasin.com.

— Robert Virasin

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Nightlife businesses petition government to reopen, sell alcohol

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Koh Larn 70% vaccinated as Pattaya eyes reopening

Economy9 hours ago

BMA extends permits for street vendors to 2 years for stability

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Phuket10 hours ago

Expats in Phuket without a work permit can register for a Covid-19 vaccine

Environment10 hours ago

Tar balls wash ashore on several Phuket beaches

Thailand10 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Private vaccines, PM promises to re-open Thailand, Phuket Sandbox | June 17

Thailand11 hours ago

2 dead following truck crash

Thailand11 hours ago

Outbreaks at factories rise, operators ordered to file Covid risk assessment

Thailand11 hours ago

Prayut going to Phuket, see if it’s Sandbox ready

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

Chulabhorn Royal Academy details Sinopharm vaccine insurance

Thailand12 hours ago

Thai-English auto-translate down on Facebook due to “technical issues”

Best of12 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Phuket

Crime12 hours ago

Famous/infamous murder suspect out on bail wins lottery

Thailand13 hours ago

Police arrest 2 men for allegedly trying to extort 2 million baht from a man

Phuket13 hours ago

Electricty outages in Phuket today

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending