If both parties agree to divorce, it is easy enough to register an administrative divorce in Thailand at any District Office (Khet or Amphur) provided that the requirements are met. No Thai lawyer is required to be involved.
Both spouses must personally attend the district office for the registration of the divorce. A power of attorney is not allowed for this type of divorce.
1. File a Petition for Divorce
A divorce is the dissolution of a marriage. There are several reasons why a couple would want to dissolve their marriage. It could be due to irreconcilable differences or a breakdown of communication. It could also be because one spouse has committed adultery or is guilty of causing psychological harm.
If both parties agree on the terms of their divorce they can file a divorce at the district office where their marriage was registered. This is called an uncontested divorce. If the divorce is contested then it will take much longer and require the services of a Thai lawyer.
It is important to consider the grounds for divorce in Thailand before filing a petition. There are specific grounds such as adultery, infliction of abuse or serious physical harm, and desertion.
2. File a Summons
If both parties agree to divorce and are able to reach an agreement on all issues including property division and child custody a couple may choose to proceed with an administrative divorce. This process is less costly and time consuming than court proceedings. The administrative divorce can be registered at the district office where the marriage was originally registered or at a Thailand Embassy abroad.
If one party to the marriage is living outside of Thailand they can still file a petition for an administrative divorce provided that there are grounds for the divorce as set forth in the Thai Civil and Commercial Code. A contested divorce is typically more expensive and time consuming and requires that the complaint be filed at a Thailand court.
In the event a contested divorce is filed the Plaintiff together with their attorney will file a summons to the Respondent. This is a requirement to give the Respondent notice of the case/s that are being filed against him and complies with the legal requirements of Due Process.
3. File a Notice of Hearing
If both parties do not agree on important conjugal matters such as child custody and sharing of properties, a contested divorce may be necessary. This involves a court’s intervention and requires the filing of a lawsuit at the appropriate family court. This type of divorce is usually availed of if there is a definite ground for divorce under Thai law and both spouses are willing to end the marriage.
The spouse who files for the divorce is called the Plaintiff and together with their lawyer must identify and verify a ground for divorce. The court may consider other factors like evidence of a broken marriage and issues related to children before granting the divorce.
When both parties agree to end their marriage, they can register their administrative divorce at the district office (also known as Khet or Amphur) provided that all requirements are met. Both spouses must be present at the Amphur during their registration and they cannot act for each other even with power of attorney.
4. Attend the Hearing
Generally, couples who have agreed to end their marriages will register for administrative divorce at the district office (Khet in Bangkok; Amphoe in the provinces) where their original marriage registration took place. As long as both parties have no disagreements regarding child custody or property division this process is fast and straightforward. This type of divorce is preferred by most foreigners because it averts conflict and keeps costs down.
For contested divorce, however, it is necessary for both spouses to attend the final hearing. While you can have someone act for you as a power of attorney to do the preliminaries you must appear at your hearing in person. For this reason we recommend that you work with an experienced lawyer who can assist you with the filing and proceedings. This will ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the legal process. This is particularly important in family court cases that involve children and property issues.