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ResourcesFamily LawDivorceContested vs. Non-Contested Divorce in Thailand

Contested vs. Non-Contested Divorce in Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing divorce in Thailand and the issue sometimes comes up with respect to contested vs. non-contested divorce

People ask me "What's the difference? How does it work?" etc. Well first of all, what people need to recognize, especially those folks who come from what I would call a Common Law jurisdiction, so that is the Commonwealth or the United States that uses the old Westminster system of law, Thailand has something pretty fundamentally different from that system with respect to the issues of marriage and divorce. Even those who come from a Civil Law country for example Continental Europe or elsewhere in Asia, again the Thai legal system is truly unique to any place else in the world. It has some similarities to other systems but with a Thai twist generally. So the thing to take away from this video is, while they are some similarities, it should be viewed that the overall system is different so understanding how it works in Thailand is going to be an exercise in understanding Thai specific law.

So first and foremost, to be clear I am an American licensed attorney. I am the Managing Director of the firm here. We have Thai Attorneys that work here that assist directly in these matters and advise our clients with respect to Legal matters here in Thailand including but not limited to divorce. 

I am simply providing this information for informational purposes. So quoting directly from our website it is from Book 5, Family Title 1 Chapter 6 Termination of Marriage and this is from the Thai Civil and Commercial Code and specifically Section 1514. Quoting directly: "Divorce may be affected only by mutual consent or by judgment of the Court. Divorce with mutual consent must be made in writing and certified by the signatures of at least two witnesses."  So the thing to take away from that specific section is, there are two ways to get divorced and it can be done at what is called a Civil Registrar Office here in Thailand, also called an Amphur, or here in Bangkok at the Khet Office wherein one goes. It is kind of similar to the Registrar of Deeds back in the United States for example but it is more a Registrar of Vital Statistics if you will. It is possible in a non-contested divorce to just simply go to that office and have the divorce registered. If the parties consent to everything it is possible to have the divorce registered. A non-contested divorce as noted previously requires a judgment of the court. This is where you get into rather more complex situations involving divorce in Thailand because Thailand has for lack of a better term what we would call in the United States, fault divorce as opposed to no-fault divorce; you have to show cause for the divorce. Now sometimes showing cause may be fairly straightforward although under other circumstances showing cause may be rather difficult. So, depending on the specific circumstances of a given case, it may be possible to show cause rather quickly whereas under other circumstances it may take a while to go ahead and process the case through. In either instance, it is possible to get a divorce in Thailand and contested divorces generally speaking will be for lack of better term somewhat more straightforward. I hesitate to use the term "easier" because it is not the right word in these contexts. A non-contested divorce, the matter may be something wherein simply seeing an non-contested divorce there may be a lot of factual complication or complexity going on under the surface but definitely with respect to contested divorce, yes you are looking at increasing complexity with a contested divorce here in Thailand compared to a non-contested divorce in Thailand.