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Contested divorce (procedure)

A contested divorce is the equivalent of a judicial divorce in most jurisdictions. In this case, a lawsuit is necessarily brought by one or both parties because of certain circumstances surrounding the marriage to be dissolved.

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Contested Divorce in Thailand

Petition for a contested divorce

When filing for a contested divorce, the spouse must be willing to prove at least one ground for divorce under Thai law. In addition, they must be a proper parties to the petition. The guilty party cannot be the initiator of the case, even if willing to plead the chosen ground.

Preparing the case

The petitioner is the spouse who petitions the court for a divorce. As mentioned earlier, they must be the aggrieved party in the marriage. This party applies to the court for relief in the form of a divorce.

With an attorney, Plaintiff must determine the basis for the divorce. An attorney is necessary because identifying the cause does not end with naming it. More important is how the ground can be substantiated through evidence. The attorney will find out if the Plaintiff has enough evidence to support his claim against his spouse. Remember, the case should be able to move independently, even if the spouse is willing to accept the charges or plans to contest the motion.

Once the cause is identified and the evidence is established, the motion preparation follows. The petition should state all charges the petitioner wants the court to evaluate. The following documents should also accompany the statement:

  • A photocopy of the Thai national ID card for the Thai party;
  • A photocopy of the last passport of the foreign person;
  • A photocopy of the marriage certificate;
  • A photocopy of Tabien Baan for the Thai party;
  • Copies of the alien's identity card with their residential or business address;
  • Copies of the birth certificates of their mutual children;
  • Proof of the selected grounds for divorce.

Payment of court fees

Once the Plaintiff and his attorney are ready to petition, the case can be filed in the appropriate family court. Court fees must be paid before the case can proceed. If a claim for marital property accompanies the divorce petition, court fees are calculated at 2% of the total amount of the claim. However, court fees should not exceed 200,000 Thai Baht. If there is no claim to marital property, the court fee is only THB 1,000.

The other fee is the delivery fee. This is the fee for delivering the summons to the defendant. If the service is to be performed within Thailand, the Plaintiff pays 1,000 Thai Baht. If the delivery is for overseas and requires service through diplomatic channels, the delivery fee is 5,000 Thai baht.

The cost of the hearing is a court cost. Fewer hearings mean fewer deductions. The remainder of the court costs will be returned to the Plaintiff within 30 days of the judgment.

The delivery of summons

The delivery of the summons allows the court to have jurisdiction over the defendant's identity. This action also meets the requirement of due process when the defendant can understand the case/s against them.

Within Thailand, the delivery of summonses may be by personal delivery or by registered mail. Depending on how the summons is served, the defendant is given a certain number of days to file a response to the complaint.

If the summons and complaint are received and served in person, the Respondent has 15 days to file their answer. If delivered by registered mail, the Respondent must file his answer 15 days from the service date.

On the other hand, the Respondent has 30 days to file his answer if the summons and complaint are not accepted by the delivery officer, either because the Respondent refused to receive them or because the Respondent was not found. The documents in such a case must be sent to the Respondent's last recorded address.


An Answer is the Respondent's response to a Petition/Complaint from Plaintiff. It must respond to all issues raised by Plaintiff in the complaint. An admission or denial must be made expressly, including any counterclaim the Respondent may have against Plaintiff.

Default and Decision in Absentia

Within the specified number of days, the Respondent must file his answer to the complaint against him. If the answer is not filed, the Plaintiff may petition the court to declare the Respondent insolvent. A motion to declare the Respondent insolvent must contain evidence that the summons and complaint were delivered to or otherwise served on the Respondent.

The named party, by default, loses the opportunity to defend itself against the charges in the future.

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Update: 15-02-2023
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