Divorces in Thailand



Thai law makes provision for a divorce in Thailand in terms of Section 1516. This specific Section covers the reasons or grounds on which a divorce in Thailand may be granted.  Even though your reasons for a divorce in Thailand might fall under one of the sub-Sections of Section 1516, they might not be as clear cut as stipulated on this page.


Section 1516:

  1. The husband has given maintenance to or honored such other woman as his wife or the wife has committed adultery, the other spouse may enter a claim for divorce.

Point 1 as it explains is where the husband has another girlfriend or Mia Noi or has committed an act of adultery. The circumstance of adultery should be maintenance to or honored such other woman as his wife. Or the wife has committed an act of adultery.  The wife would therefore file for a divorce in the first instance and you would file on the act of your wife committing an act of adultery.

  1. One spouse is guilty of misconduct, notwithstanding whether such misconduct is of a criminal nature or not. If it causes:

  2. To be seriously ashamed;

  3. To be insulted or hated on account of the act of misconduct committed by your spouse;

  4. To sustain excessive injury;

The innocent spouse may file for divorce in Thailand under the above circumstances.

Point 2 is an issue of misconduct that may embarrass or endanger the innocent party in the marriage. As an example your wife goes around town telling everyone that you are a known criminal and wanted by the FBI. Alternatively she has hired somebody to beat you to a pulp as you had failed to buy her a larger wedding ring.

  • One spouse has caused harm or torture to the body or mind of the other alternatively has seriously insulted the other parties’ ascendants. The innocent party would therefore file for a divorce.

Point 3 is broad ranging for a number of reasons. These could range from physically being tortured by your spouse, or causing mental anguish. This further extends to seriously insulting your spouse’s ascendants, such as his/her parents or grandparents. 

  • One spouse has deserted the other for more than one year. The latter may file for a divorce.

Point 4 This might occur when married couples have an argument and one spouse decides to board an international flight and not return after a year. The remaining spouse in Thailand would then file for a divorce in Thailand. Alternatively, one spouse runs off and even though still in Thailand, not make his or her presence known for more than a year.

"Desert" in this clause means separation de facto and animus deserendi, and this also means the separation without any fields of contact more than one year i.e. letter, e-mail, telephone etc.

(4.1) One spouse has been sentenced to prison for more than a year where the innocent spouse  was not implicated in the criminal offence.

(4.2) The couple part ways and live separately for more than 3 years as they are unable to live together peacefully.

Sub-Section 4.1 and 4.2 are self explanatory.

  • One spouse has been adjudged to have disappeared or has left his/her domicile or residence for more than 3 years and being uncertain if he/she is dead or alive.

Point 5 points to a disappearance that has been adjudged (determine or decide by judicial procedure), hence the court has decided that you have officially disappeared.

  • One spouse has failed to give proper maintenance and support to the other or committed an act or acts seriously adverse to the relationship of husband and wife.

Point 6 might be described as where the one spouse who earns income refuses to provide the other with money to pay the accounts, purchase food etc. Alternatively the spouse may have committed an act which would affect the marriage adversely. The later having a wide discretion.

  • One spouse has been insane for 3 years continuously and is incurable. 

Point 7 is self explanatory however the procedure for the declaration of insanity is not explicitly described or called for in the Section.

  • One spouse has broken the bond of good behavior. (A bond of good behavior is a written agreement to behave yourself) 

Point 8 would be best interpreted for you by your divorce attorney in Thailand. [See: Divorce in Thailand: Defences]

  • One spouse is suffering from a communicable and dangerous disease which is incurable and may cause harm to the other.

Point 9 would be where one spouse has developed an incurable communicable disease.  These could range for a variety of diseases. This may be used during your divorce in Thailand.

 Point 10 is self explanatory however it is very broad by description however see the grounds for divorce in Thailand – Defences.  Applying for a divorce in Thailand is a complicated legal procedure. There is always money, property and possibly children involved in the process. Always seek legal assistance from a reputable law firm in Thailand when starting the legal process for a divorce in Thailand.


Q & A


How to Divorce in Thailand?

The marriage is terminated by death, divorce or being cancelled by the Court (Section 1501, Chapter VI, and Subject: “Termination of Marriage”, The Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand)

If you are a foreigner who are legally registered the marriage under Thai Law, you can file a divorce to court in Thailand.

In case of the spouse agreed to terminate the marriage, they can register the divorce at a local District Office. Divorce effected by mutual consent must be made in writing and certified by the signatures of the least two witnesses (Section 1514, Paragraph 2, Chapter VI, “Termination of Marriage”).  The parties shall make the written agreement for the exercise of parental power over each of the children and both of the spouses or either spouse will contribute to the maintenance of the children.

If the spouses do not agree to terminate the marriage, the divorce may be effected by judgment of the court.   Therefore, you need the lawyer to handle all the procedures of the court. 


How to get a divorce if spouse does not consent?

You have to file a court action by establish grounds (faults) for a divorce as the following details:

  1. One spouse has committed adultery;

  2. One spouse is guilty of misconduct (criminal or otherwise);

  3. One spouse has caused serious harm or torture to the body or mind of the other;

  4. One spouse has deserted the other for over one year;

  5. One spouse has been adjudged to have disappeared;

  6. One spouse has failed to give proper maintenance and support to the other;

  7. One spouse has been in insane person for at least 3 years continuously;

  8. One spouse has broken a bond of good behavior;

  9. One spouse is suffering from a communicable and dangerous disease;

  10. One spouse has a physical disadvantage so as to be unable to cohabit as husband and wife.


How to file the plaint to court if living overseas?

You need to present in court on the court day (settling the case issue).  Our divorce attorney will handle your case in Thailand and will supervise you how to prepare the document evidences and how to work with the facts of the case.  After the court’s judgment issued, it will be translated into English Language or the other language on your requirement, legalization by the Ministry of Foreign Affair, then it will be posted properly to your place by UPS or the other services.

What will happen if defendant does not response to the summons by the court?

After filing the divorce case with the Thai Court, the summons and plaint instituting the case shall be served to the defendant at the domicile of the defendant and/or the current address of the defendant outside the Kingdom of Thailand.

If the summons has been served to the defendant, but the defendant does not file the answer within the prescribed period of time (fixed by the Law or Court), that defendant shall be deemed to be in default of answer (Section 197, Chapter II of Procedure in Case of Default, Part I “Default of Answer”, The Civil Procedure Code of Thailand).


What if the defendant is living overseas and do not appear in court?

If the defendant does not appear in court in Thailand on the day of taking evidence and is not permitted by the Court to adjourn the case, such defendant shall be deemed to be in default of appearance (Section 200, Part II “Default of appearance”, The Civil Procedure Code of Thailand).


What will happen to property, debts and liabilities?

Upon divorce, the property which has been acquired during the marriage shall be divided equally between husband and wife.  Upon termination of the marriage, the man and woman shall be liable for common debts equally (Section 1535, Chapter VI “Termination of marriage”, The Civil & Commercial Code of Thailand).


Living Allowances

Section 1464

The Section relates to monthly maintenance of the other even during trial. It is important to maintain maintenance during the trial even if the spouse has not been declared insane as yet. The declaration in terms of the statute clearly states that it is irrelevant to maintenance. Should this lack of support endanger the other, the supposable insane spouse, or the guardian may apply for a maintenance order. 

Section 1519

In terms of Section 1519, where the court decides that the spouse is insane yet has no guardian appointed, they will grant the insane spouse a living allowance while dismissing the application for a divorce. Living allowance would best be described as the reasonable amount of money needed to maintain oneself.  This would then be adjusted according to the ability of each spouse. Once the divorce is finalised a final order would be made in terms of maintenance for the incapacitated spouse.

Section 1527

In terms of the grounds for divorce in Thailand Section 1527 more specifically Section 1516 (7). This Section is covered by Section 1519. Any divorce in Thailand is a complex legal matter. If one of the parties is to be declared insane, it complicates the divorce even more. Only the Thai language is used in courts in Thailand both oral and written. You may require an interpreter at your own expense and as the laws are complex, it is always better to obtain the services of a reputable law firm.  Always speak to an attorney when filling for a divorce in Thailand.


Source: www.divorcethailand.com

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