Legal aspects and consequences of marriage in Thailand
Learning, consequences of marriage in Thailand
A marriage in Thailand will have legal consequences for you and your spouse. Such consequences (e.g. obligation of maintenance towards each other, legal relationship with children born,consequences for property you own) can be found in the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand (ประมวลกฎหมายแพ่งและพาณิชย์) which is the the main body of laws that deals with the legal consequences of Family and Marriage in Thailand.
What is personal property in a Thai marriage? +
Personal property consists of 1 - property belonging to either spouse before marriage, 2 - property for personal use, dress or ornament suitable for station in life, or tools necessary for carrying on the profession of either spouse, 3 - property acquired by either spouse during marriage through a will or gift, 4 - Khongman. The distinction between separate (personal) and marital property is of great importance when the marriage ends and property of the marriage is divided, read more...
What are the specific legal rights and duties resulting from a Thai marriage? +
Thailand is a civil law country and marriage and family is codified. Subjects governed by the Civil code are for example engagement (sections 1435 - 1447), conditions of marriage (sections 1448 - 1460), relationship of husband and wife (sections 1461 - 1464), property of Husband and wife (sections 1465 - 1493), void of marriage (sections 1494 - 1500), termination of marriage (sections 1501 - 1535), parentage (sections 1536 - 1560), rights and duties parent and child (sections 1561 - 1584), guardianship (sections 1585 - 1598/18), adoption (sections 1598/19 - 1598/37), maintenance (sections 1598/38 - 1598/40), succession and heirship (1599 - 1755), read more....
How is marital property created in a Thai marriage? +
A marriage in Thailand creates jointly owned marital property (in Thai 'Sin Somros') of husband and wife. This is (1) property acquired during the course of the marriage (excluding personal property of section 1472), (2) property acquired through a will of gift if it is declared such property to be jointly owned, and (3) 'fruits' of personal property. Note that in case of doubt whether a property is marital property or personal property it shall be presumed to be marital property (section 1474).
Who manages marital assets in a Thai marriage? +
Unless a prenuptial agreement has been made giving sole management to one of the spouses, joint consent of husband is required for all legal acts concerning marital assets as specified in section 1476 civil code.
How to separate personal from marital assets in a Thai marriage? +
Laws governing personal property and assets between husband and wife in Thailand specify that property belonging to either spouse before the marriage remains personal property during the course of the marriage (section 1471), and each spouse shall remain the sole manager of his or her personal property. Keeping personal property separate from marital assets could be achieved by listing personal assets in the annexes of a prenuptial agreement, and during the course of the marriage maintain a form of yearly accounting of personal and marital assets.
Can I enter into any agreements such as usufruct, lease, loan with my Thai spouse? +
Yes, but the system of personal and marital assets is fixed in the civil and commercial code chapter IV 'property of husband and wife'. Any agreements between husband and wife concerning personal and marital assets concluded after the marriage can be voided pursuant to section 1469 by either husband or wife. The reason for this is that personal property is protected from the other spouse (presumed undue influence) and the legal regime or system of property of husband and wife (who owns or who gets what, as described in the civil and commercial code) cannot be altered through agreements between husband and wife.
Is our home in Thailand marital property? +
Generally not. When a Thai married to a foreigner wants to register ownership of land in Thailand the land office must register the land (and in practice this will often be land and house) as a personal property of the Thai national, and not as a marital (jointly owned) asset of husband and wife, read more....
How to buy real estate with a Thai spouse? +
For a Thai national married to a foreigner the Thailand land department requires registration of land or real estate in the name of that Thai person as a personal asset, and not a marital asset jointly owned by husband and wife (that would create indirect foreign land ownership and the land office procedure must prevent this). As a drawback for the foreign spouse, the property will not automatically be subject to division of marital assets when the marriage ends, the Thai spouse will be the sole manager of the property and she would be able to sell or encumber the property without the consent of the foreign spouse. When the money for the acquisition comes from the foreigner, or partly from marital assets, a witnessed declaration could made by the Thai spouse (in front of a notary) in which he/she among others declares the source of the money that was use for the purchase, that the purchased property is considered a marital asset, and the gift of the money (from personal assets of the foreign spouse) by which the purchase is made possible will be returned upon termination of the marriage. An additional protection could be in the form of a registered right of usufruct for the benefit of the foreign spouse. A last will could be an additional protection in the event the Thai spouse would predecease the foreign spouse.
Are prenuptial agreements recognized and enforceable in Thailand? +
It is under Thai marriage laws (section 1465) allowed to make a special agreement (pre-marriage) concerning properties of husband and wife but its content cannot be in conflict with the law or good morals read more....
Is a prenuptial in Thailand treated as a private agreement? +
Thai marriage laws allow limited freedom of contract in a prenuptial agreement. The prenup should 1: only deal with property of husband and wife, 2: must comply with Thai Family and Marriage Laws and good morals in Thailand, and 3: the prenuptial must be registered prior/ together to the marriage registration (there is little government scrutiny of the prenup's content when registered in the Marriage Registers, courts however will quickly deem a prenup void or sections as unenforceable when it is in conflict with the law including good morals), read more...
What is an international marriage? +
There is no 'international marriage' and each country has its own laws governing marriage. International marriage commonly means that (prospective) spouses have different nationalities. In an international marriage it is crucial to understand which marital property regime applies to the marriage. This could be complicated when there are assets in other jurisdictions as each country also has its own (internal) form of international private laws dictating which matrimonial property regime applies to the marriage. The outcome could be different in different countries. Therefore, when a couple from different nationalities (e.g. Thai/ foreign) enter into marriage in Thailand they (the foreigner) should in addition to legal advice in Thailand ask for legal advice from a legal professional (foreign lawyer) qualified to give legal advice on this matter under this other jurisdiction involved. This is especially important when the foreigner has assets outside Thailand he or she wants to protect (read more...).
Shall I make an international prenuptial? +
There is no such thing as an international prenuptial contract. In a marriage with international elements you designate before marriage (in a prenuptial agreement) which matrimonial property regime shall govern your marriage. Then you draft your prenuptial based on that law, but this is local law according to the legal system of that country involved. What you can or cannot do in a prenuptial agreement varies per laws of each country, therefore obtain separate legal advice on the prenup options and consequences of marriage in the different jurisdictions involved (read more...)..
Can a foreign national marry a Thai national in Thailand? +
Foreigners can enter into a Thai marriage with a Thai national. A marriage in Thailand must be declared publicly before the Registrar and must be recorded by the Registrar in the civil Registry (section 1458). Before the marriage can take place the foreigner must obtain certain documents from his/ her embassy (affidavit marital status and freedom to marry) and have it translated and certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information can usually be found on your embassy' s or consulate's website.
How to divorce in Thailand? +
If a couple wants to formally terminate their marriage in Thailand this could be done in person with the local Amphur but requires mutual consent on the terms of the divorce. If they cannot agree on the terms of the marital dissolution then the divorce can be achieved through a more complicated court procedure based on the grounds given in the Civil and Commercial Code, read more....
Is a Buddhist marriage a valid marriage in Thailand? +
When a man and a woman have chosen for a Buddhist marriage and to live together as husband and wife they are under Thai law not treated as a legally married couple. Only marriages entered into the official government's marriage register are valid and legal marriages and create all rights, duties and responsibilities of husband and wife under Thai family laws.
Is a same sex marriage recognized in Thailand? +
No, Thailand does not recognize same sex marriages nor is there any form of formal legal recognition of same sex couples. There are plans to introduce same-sex civil partnerships and the Thai government has proposed legalizing same-sex marriage but this has been unsuccessful so far.