Thai Family Law

Thai Family Law

Reality wise, not all marriages are happy. Even if a marriage started like how popular romantic movies best describe it, problems can occur along the way and sometimes these issues can cause couples to separate legally through a divorce.

Unlike some Asian countries, Thailand does have a divorce although the process in itself, the circumstances and the results of which may vary from other nations such as the United States.

The following are snippets of the country’s Family Law that can give non-Thais pieces of information on important topics such as divorce, child custody and prenuptial agreements among others.


The divorce process is not the root of the problem of a married couple but rather a consequence of an unresolved issue. According to infidelity, lack of intimacy and abuse are among the top reasons why couples get into a divorce.

To define, divorce means legal dissolution of a marriage between a legally married couple and it can be granted through a competent court or by an accredited office. However, a party or both parties must have sufficient evidence to support his or her claim in the court of law.

Often times, we may see on television, hear on the radio or even know someone in the United States who have divorced his spouse because of “irreconcilable differences.” Whatever they mean about this, such is not among the list valid grounds for divorce under Thai law.

The following are the only applicable reasons for divorce in the Kingdom:

  1. The 3-year separation – if the married couple has been living away from each other for not less than 3 years, a party of such marriage can make this a ground for his or her filing of the divorce.
  2. One party has deserted the other – desertion and separation are often times interchanged. Legally speaking, however, there is a vast difference between the two. Desertion means one party has left the other without the consent of the other. With this, the deserted person can file for a divorce and make this a ground for the process to proceed. This is true if the abandonment has lapsed for at least a year.
  3. If the husband has taken in another woman as his wife, the aggrieved party may use this as a reason for filing a divorce.
  4. On the other hand, the husband can file for a divorce if his wife has committed adultery.
  5. If either party has committed misconduct, criminal in nature or otherwise, the aggrieved party can file for a divorce.
  6. If one party has caused physical or mental harm unto the other, the aggrieved spouse can file for a divorce.
  7. When there is a lack of maintenance and or support unto the other spouse.
  8. A spouse has an incurable mental issue for at least three (3) years.
  9. A spouse has broken the bond of good behavior.
  10. If one spouse is suffering from an incurable, contagious and dangerous illness, the other party can file for a divorce.
  11. A spouse has a physical disadvantage that can permanently prohibit him or her to cohabit with his or her spouse as husband and wife, the other party can use this as a reason to file for a divorce.

Child Custody

If the divorcing couple has a child, his or her custodial rights would be one of the most contested or heated exchanges between the stranged parties. This is so because one or both parties always believe that the welfare of the child is best when he or she is living with him or her.

In Thailand, a court shall arrive with a resolution on which parent should be given the custodial rights of the child after the said court’s appreciation on the assigned social worker’s report on the parents and the child.

It is also worthy to note that in Thailand, a change in custodial rights is also possible after being granted by the court of law.

Prenuptial Agreements

Many couples enter into a contract before their marriage to determine, in advance, who gets which in case of divorce or if the finances and properties are to be managed jointly or separately during their marriage.

In conclusion

The Thai Family Law is a complex legal matter touching many different applicable laws of the country. Entering into a divorce proceeding, especially for couples involving a foreigner national and a Thai individual, can be financially and emotionally draining for both parties. Nonetheless, this can be managed well if an involved party enlists the assistance of reputable legal institutions in Thailand.