What happens to the family home after divorce?

I am divorcing my wife, do I get any of my money back for the property I bought in Thailand. My Thai wife says she owns it and keeps it.
Asked 4 years ago

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Equitable distribution of a marital home in a divorce

When the marital home is purchased during the course of the marriage, and you followed the correct procedure at the land department for the acquisition of land by a Thai married to a foreigner, then the property is registered as a personal and therefore separate asset of your Thai spouse. As a personal asset it is not automatically subject to an equal ('50/50') distribution in the event of a divorce or death (when there is no last will). Only martial property is pursuant to marriage laws subject to an equal distribution when the marriage ends (มาตรา 1533 เมื่อหย่ากันให้แบ่งสินสมรสให้ชายและหญิงได้ส่วนเท่ากัน) as opposed to personal property (premarital property)).

When you are not able to come to an agreement with your wife on the division of marital assets and the divorce is effected by a judgment of the court it all comes down to the application of the law governing property of husband and wife and what you can prove in court. Marital property is really simply a matter of accounting and calculation from the date of marriage, however in case of doubt (there is no evidence) whether a property is personal or marital, any property acquired during the course of the marriage is by law considered marital and subject to equitable distribution pursuant section 1533 of the civil code. Your wife could submit the land office documents and declaration and claim that the home is not subject to division as it is her personal property and therefore not part of the marital property between husband and wife.

Peronal assets versus marital assets

If you want to use section 1469, can you prove that you paid for the property with your personal money (overseas money transfer) or even that it is paid for with money belonging to the marital property. For example when your wife did not have any substantial assets when you married her it would be difficult for her to claim she paid for it with money belonging to her personal assets as this usually is based on her premarital property.

If you can prove in a divorce procedure that the house is wholly paid for from funds belonging to your personal assets (or part marital assets) you could in a court procedure be entitled to the marital home (or part). However, when a the land or land and house is registered as a personal and separate property of your Thai spouse, you rights of refund would be based on the 'undue enrichment' sections of the civil code, therefore it could be difficult to get what you are entitled to in a divorce in Thailand, or you could get involved in a costly Thai court procedure to get what you are entitled to. The house is (generally) not a jointly owned marital 'marriage property'.

Read more... (does my Thai wife own the house)

Answered 4 years ago
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