A divorce is the legal termination of a marriage, arrived at either through litigation or by mutual consent. The separation of two people who are married is NOT the same as a divorce.
GETTING A DIVORCE IN THAILAND
Divorce By Consent
In Thailand a divorce by content means that both parties of the marriage agree to the termination of the marriage, and have agreed to a contact which stipulates ownership of property and assets, as well as custody of children if necessary.
This contract of divorce by mutual content must be filed at the local District Office, known as the “Amphur” Office. This process is relatively easy and can be accomplished in one day with the proper documents. It is advisable for foreigners who wish to divorce by mutual content, to have all the documents in both Thai and their native language.
A divorce by mutual consent does not require that a foreigner retain legal representation, however consulting a divorce lawyer will ensure the process is done correctly, and you can avoid needless headaches.
A divorce by mutual consent terminates the marriage in Thailand, however outside of Thailand this type of divorce may not be recognized as a legal divorce.
Divorce by Litigation
When one party of a marriage wishes to get divorced but cannot agree with the other party on terms and conditions of, or even to the acceptance of a divorce, they must pursue divorce by litigation or divorce through the courts. In order for the marriage to be terminated the party seeking the divorce must prove there are grounds for the termination that are recognized by Thai law.
If there are grounds for a divorce the next step is proving which properties and assets are common (meaning related to the marriage), and which are personal (related to the individuals). It is the judge who ultimately determines which properties and assets are common and personal based upon the evidence provided.
Additionally, where children are concerned in divorce proceedings, the judge will determine custody of a child based on what serves the best interests of the child, according to evidence provided to the court.
While divorce by litigation is the result of the two parties of a marriage being unable to agree, it does not preclude the possibility of an agreement. At any time during the divorce proceeding, the two parties can come to an agreement on the outcome of the divorce. After which, the judge can finalize the divorce making it legal.
In Thailand a foreigner MUST have legal representation in order to get a divorce through the courts.