Should you have been issued with a notice that your wife in Thailand has filed for divorce then you need to speak to an attorney in Thailand for assistance if you wish to defend the divorce. This is important as the grounds for divorce may also lead to a claim for damages and you can search this website for more information on a damages claim during a divorce in Thailand.
Divorces in Thailand tend to be mainly about extra-marital affairs as well as gambling debts and issues. The in-laws are another bone of contention with divorces in Thailand and the most common issues have been added below.
The Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand lists the reasons for a divorce. The most common would be Section 1516 (1) which states that you are maintaining another woman as a wife. This is normally also filed with you having committed a misconduct which has left her embarrassed or insulted. The most common defense is that you had been given permission by your wife to have a girlfriend or ‘minor wife’ also known as a ‘mia noi’.
The next most common reason would be Section 1516 (9) which is when a divorce is filed for because the one party has an incurable illness that is transmittable. This could be another number of issues such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis. This could become very complicated as your only defense would be that she gave you the illness or that the illness existed before you got married and she knew about it. These defenses are important as a claim for damages would be the next action after the divorce.
Your Thai wife might also use a more vague reason for the divorce under the law. The most common would be the use of Section 1516 (8) of the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand. This is vague in that the divorce application is based on “one party has broken the bond of good behavior” and this can be ascribed to just about anything. The courts would however want more details for this so that the reason for the divorce is not based on a very small issue. Always take legal advice for a lawyer in Thailand.
Getting divorced in Thailand can be a costly and time consuming event. Should you want to defend your divorce then you need to speak to a family lawyer about the best and most cost effective legal options available. If there are substantial property involved then litigation can takes a year or two to complete. If however you have a prenuptial agreement or a usufruct over the property in your name then this may help to shorten the divorce negotiation process as you have some leverage during the negotiations.
Always take legal advice when it comes to a divorce in Thailand as trying to save costs might just cost you more in a bad settlement.