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Uncontested Divorce in Thailand – How a Marriage is Ended under Thai Law

15th January 2010
By Mistina Thomson in Divorce
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"Divorce is a very controversial topic and all over the world it reaches alarming rates. According to Thai law, under section 1501 of the Commercial and Civil Code a marriage in Thailand is ended in one of three ways.

It is either executed by:

1. The death of one of the parties to the marriage
2. When a marriage is cancelled by the Court
3. By divorce

1. Death
The death of a spouse is self explanatory.

2. Cancellation By Court
This method of ending a marriage is not commonly found. A marriage in Thailand can be cancelled in extreme cases by the Court in events where certain facts came to the attention of the plaintive after the marriage, that if known before the marriage, he or she would not get married. An alternative reason used in this regard is that the marriage was conducted in an illegal way.

Once a marriage is cancelled by the Court in Thailand, it is regarded as if it never happened.

3. Divorce
It needs to be clear that under the provisions of Thailand Law, no distinction is made between Thai citizens and foreigners. Irrespective of an individual’s citizenship status, all people are treated equally under Thai Law.

In order to encounter into divorce proceedings under Thai law, it is required that the marriage bust be acknowledged under Thai legislation.

There are two types of divorce:
1. Uncontested divorce
2. Contested divorce

1. Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is when both parties to the marriage agree to terminate the marriage. Because a marriage is seen as a civil contract or agreement under Thai Law, no reason for divorce need to be provided if both parties consent to ending the agreement or contract. However, they still need to follow the proper legal procedure.

Uncontested divorces are accepted in numerous countries that have civil law in place. However, Common Law countries such as Britain, The United States of America and Australia do not accept the “cancellation of agreement” concept in an uncontested divorce. In these countries you normally need to obtain a formal court order. Things are changing and the high divorce rate might change this in the near future.

The Procedure for an Uncontested Divorce:
1. The parties need to put the request in writing
2. According to section 1514 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code, the request must be witnessed and certified by two witnesses by placing their signatures on the request.
3. This mutual agreement or request can be drafted at a district office or by a representative legal firm.
4. No specific format is required, however it is imperative that both the parties are clear about ending the marriage.
5. Although it is stated under Thai law that there must be two witnesses signing the divorce agreement, it is not required that both the witnesses must be in attendance simultaneously.
6. The witnesses must be able to recognize what they are signing and on who’s behalf they are signing as witness.

It is extremely important that there is at least one witness for both parties. In the event where there is only one person to witness for both parties, the divorce will not be effective.

7. After this is concluded it is of the essence to register the divorce at a district office. If the agreement is not registered at a district office, the divorce will not be legal.
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