Seeking Professional Assistance during Divorce: A Step-by-Step Approach for Expatriates in Thailand
Going through a divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. Especially when expatriates find themselves in a foreign country like Thailand. Understanding the divorce process and seeking professional assistance can help ease the burden and ensure a smoother transition into a new chapter of life.
Divorce Process in Thailand
The first step in seeking a divorce in Thailand is to gather all the necessary documentation. This typically includes marriage certificates, identification documents, and any other relevant paperwork related to assets or children. It is essential to provide accurate and complete information to avoid unnecessary delays or complications. Documents related to properties are also very important.
Once the required documents are gathered, it is advisable to consult with an experienced family lawyer who specializes in international divorces. Working with a professional who understands both local Thai laws and international legal frameworks can provide valuable guidance throughout the process. ThaiLawOnline can help you and we have done hundreds of divorces before.
The lawyer will assist in filing the divorce petition at the local Thai court. The lawyer can also try to negotiate and reach an agreement as divorce by mutual consent is another way to divorce in Thailand. However, if it can’t be by mutual agreement, it will be in Court.
The petition will outline the grounds for divorce and any specific requests regarding child custody, spousal support, or property division. The court will then serve the divorce summons to the other party, initiating the legal proceedings.
Average time for expatriates to divorce in thailand
It is important to note that the divorce process in Thailand can be time-consuming. It may take several months or even years to reach a final resolution. The length of the process can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the case. The cooperation between the parties, and the court’s workload can also make it longer. You can estimate between 3 to 6 months for usual cases. We have seen cases taking more than a year. The process is normally longer when a party is abroad or they have many common properties.
Throughout the proceedings, both parties may be required to attend court hearings and provide further evidence or testimony to support their claims. It is crucial to follow legal advice and cooperate fully with the lawyer to present a strong case. If a child is involved, the juvenile division will make a report for the judge and normally, will meet both parties with the child. One factor that makes it longer for expatriates is normally the necessity of having an interpreter. The whole process is in Thai but translation slows down interrogation and cross interrogation.
Once the court reaches a decision, either party has the right to appeal if they are dissatisfied with the outcome. However, it is essential to consider the advice of the lawyer in such cases. The appeals process can prolong the divorce and further increase legal expenses. It is actually rare that a party appeal, maybe 1% of the cases. We would add that probably 80-90% of cases are settled by negotiation at the Court.
Property Division in International Divorces
Property division can be one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce, especially when international factors come into play. In Thailand, all assets acquired during the marriage are generally considered joint property, regardless of the name in which they are held.
It is common for divorcing couples to negotiate a settlement agreement outside of court. This allows them to have more control over the division of assets. It can help avoid the uncertainty and costs associated with litigation. However, the assistance of a family lawyer is still vital to ensure that the agreement is comprehensive, legally binding, and protects both parties’ rights. This is especially true for matters related to children as property is normally quite easy to separate.
When negotiations can’t work
In cases where negotiation is not possible or fails to yield a satisfactory outcome, the court will make the final decision regarding property division. The court will consider various factors, including the length of the marriage, each party’s contributions. Also their financial needs, and the best interests of any children involved. For children, unless a party has been really bad like commiting incest or crimes with the child, the judges will normally give joint parental powers.
It is important to note that dividing assets in an international divorce can be complicated. Especially if properties or businesses are located in multiple jurisdictions. Seeking advice from an attorney with expertise in international family law can help navigate these complexities and ensure a fair and equitable distribution of assets.
In conclusion, seeking professional assistance during a divorce is crucial for expatriates in Thailand. Understanding the divorce process and working with experienced family lawyers can help navigate the complexities of international divorces. It ensures that both parties’ rights and interests are protected. Furthermore, proper legal guidance can facilitate property division, helping to achieve a fair and equitable resolution while minimizing the emotional and financial toll of the divorce.