FAQ about marriage and divorce in Thailand (updated in 2017)
1) Can a foreigner get married in Thailand?
Yes. Even two foreigners from different countries can get married together in Thailand.
2) Is a Buddhist marriage a legal marriage in Thailand?
No. A legal Thai marriage must be done according to the Law and must be registered at the Amphur (local registration office) or Khet (same, in the Bangkok area). A Buddha marriage shouldn't have any legal implications in Thailand.
3) Is my Thai marriage, done in Thailand, valid in my own country?
Laws of every country are different. You should contact your embassy to verify if a Thai marriage is valid in your own country. Some countries will require to register your marriage, some will countries will automatically recognize your marriage but you might need some translation and legalizations in order to perform some legal acts, and for others, it won't be recognized.
4) Is it difficult to get married in Thailand?
No, it's normally very easy. First, you must go to your embassy and get an affirmation of freedom to get married. Then, you must translate this document in Thai. After, you must legalized it at the ministry of foreign affairs of Thailand in Bangkok. After, you can get married in any amphur or khet in Thailand.
5) Can I make a prenuptial agreement in Thailand?
Yes, but you prenuptial agreement must be registered WHEN you get married in Thailand. If not, it's void under Thai laws. Some amphur are not familiar with prenuptial agreements and it might be difficult for you to register a prenuptial without help.
6) Can I get a visa or an extension based on marriage after being married?
Yes. You have to be married to a Thai national, and you must meet the monthly income requirement of at least THB 40,000 or put 400,000 baht at the bank 2 months before you apply for your extension. These are the rules for a long time (around November 2008 and still similar in 2017). If you got your extension based on marriage before that, you might be grandfathered under some old rules.
7) If I marry a Thai lady who has a child, and I am not the parent of this child, am I responsible for this child?
No. You won't have any parental powers over this child unless you apply for adoption, there is a Court decision or the local registration office registers some documents about that. However, by being married, you have an obligation toward her (support) and the same applies to her toward you.
8) Is my foreign marriage valid in Thailand?
If you did not registered your foreign marriage in Thailand or didn't marry in Thailand, you are considered NOT MARRIED under Thai laws. Thailand doesn't recognized foreign marriages and you must register you marriage accordng to Thai law should you wish to be considered married here. (See clause 1459 of the Thai Civil Code, book V).
9) I get married in Thailand, can I divorce in Thailand?
Yes. There are 2 ways to divorce: making an agreement or by going to the Court. If your spouse doesn't wish to divorce, and she refuse to make an agreement, your only option is going to Court under Thai law. But for that, you must have a ground to divorce under Thai law. See clause 1516 of the Thai Civil Code for grounds to divorce.
10) At what age can you marry in Thailand?
At 17 years of age, but the Court may, for appropriate reasons, allow the marriage before attaining such age.
11) Can adopters marry adopted?
12) How long does it take to divorce in Thailand?
It can be very easy to divorce if you can reach an agreement with your spouse. You can make it in one day. However, if you have to go to Court, it can take from few months (6 months to 1 year normally to get a judgment) to many years (in case of appeals or if you have to execute the judgment, example, to sell a property in order to get your part of the marital asset).
13) How much does it cost to divorce in Thailand?
If you make an agreement and register it at the amphur, it's very cheap. If you go to Court and claim some parts of the marital property, you must give 2% deposit to the Court for the amount that you claim. Example, you bought a property of 2 million baht while being married...and you claim half of it, 50%, so 1,000,000 baht. The Court will ask you 20,000 baht as Court deposit. If you win your case, the Court might ask the other party to reimburse you these fees. If you settle down with the other party before a final judgment, you can ask back some part of this amount by requesting the Court to do so. All law firms will ask you different retainers of flat fees depending on complexity of the case, their experience, translation or interpreter needed and other factors.