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Contested Divorce (FAQ)

Couples who register for divorce in Thailand can file for a contested divorce if one party has grounds for divorce with their spouse and the latter does not wish to dissolve the marriage or there are problems related to the division of marital property and child custody. These issues cannot be resolved by agreement between the parties.

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Contested Divorce

Divorce in Thailand of a marriage registered in another country

It usually is not possible. However, couples who have not registered their marriage can ask the Thai courts to take jurisdiction over their divorce based on important considerations such as:

  1. One party is a Thai citizen; or
  2. One or both parties have lived or worked in Thailand for a significant period.

Bases for divorce in Thailand

The Thai Civil and Commercial Code provides the following grounds for divorce:

  1. The husband has taken another woman as his wife;
  2. The wife has committed adultery;
  3. One party is guilty of misconduct;
  4. One spouse has seriously harmed the body or mind of the other;
  5. One spouse seriously abused the other or their relatives;
  6. One spouse left the other more than a year ago;
  7. One spouse was incarcerated for more than a year;
  8. The spouses voluntarily lived apart for more than three years;
  9. The spouses lived apart for more than three years;
  10. One spouse disappeared more than three years ago;
  11. One spouse failed to provide adequate care or support;
  12. One spouse has suffered from insanity for at least three years;
  13. One spouse has not followed good behavior;
  14. one spouse has an infectious and dangerous disease;
  15. One spouse has a physical disability.

Who can file for a contested divorce?

The innocent party has the right to file for divorce against the Respondent.

Do they have to file in person?

No. The filing party can be represented by a lawyer when the case is filed in the Thai courts.

Can a lawyer represent the filing party?

No. They will be called at least once to testify against the defendant's spouse.

What if the errant party (defendant) does not appear in court?

They will be declared insolvent by the court.

What is the effect if a party is declared insolvent?

The party declared insolvent will lose its right to present evidence against the other party. The court will hear and decide the case based on only one good party.

What is the basis of the divorce?

Your attorney will give you an honest assessment of the strength of the evidence you present in court.

How long does a contested divorce case take?

On average, it takes six months for the court to complete a contested divorce case.

How will the marital property be divided between the parties?

In a divorce case, the court will consider sharing marital property and child custody.

If the spouses agree on these issues, the court will honor that agreement and include it in the judgment in the case.

However, if the couple cannot amicably resolve one or both issues, the court will be forced to decide the issue(s) based on Thai law.

Are there other things that need to be done after?

Yes. It is in the foreign national's interest to have the divorce decree translated into English. Once translated, the judgment must be legalized at the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It is also advisable to consult with one's Embassy/Consulate in Thailand as to whether the divorce decree should be submitted to the Embassy/Consulate.

For a Thai citizen, the judgment must be recorded at the Amphur nearest their residence. Thai women must also report the divorce and return using their maiden names.

Can the type of divorce be changed from contested to uncontested?

Yes. The filing party or both parties can withdraw the contested divorce case at any time after it has been filed and file for an uncontested divorce instead.

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Update: 15-02-2023
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