In Thailand, divorce is classified into:
1. Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested or administrative divorce is a divorce made by mutual consent of the spouses. No grounds are needed.
The parties don’t have to request a divorce in the same location where the marriage was registered, but they have to be present before the local district officer. They cannot be represented by any other person, even if personal or health conditions prevents them to be present.
The divorce doesn’t require any format. A written agreement of the spouses to terminate the marriage signed by both of them and certified by at least two witnesses is enough. The agreement should be in Thai and can include dispositions relating to the property, child custody or guardianship, debts or liabilities, and any other matter that the spouses are in agreement with.
The spouses should bring the marriage certificate, passport or Thai identification cards, separation agreement, and prenuptial agreement if applicable.
The local district officer will issue the divorce certificate and no other steps nor a Court ratification is needed to validate it.
2. Contested Divorce
A contested divorce is a judicial or court divorce pursued by the spouse who does not agree to terminate the marriage by mutual accord. The spouse must prove the existence of any serious grounds, such as:
• The wife has committed adultery
• A separation for more than 3 years
• One spouse has deserted the other for more than one year
• The husband has taken another woman as his wife
• One spouse is guilty of misconduct (criminal or otherwise)
• One spouse has physically or mentally harmed the other
• Lack of proper maintenance and support
• One spouse has been suffering from insanity for at least 3 years
• One spouse has broken the bond of good behavior
• One spouse has an incurable, communicable, and dangerous disease
• One spouse has a physical disadvantage so as to be unable to cohabit as husband and wife
If the spouses have come to an agreement regarding the sharing of marital property and child custody, the Court will include such agreement in the case decision. However, if the couple cannot amicably decide on one or both issues, the Court will be forced to resolve the issue on the basis of Thai laws.
The filing party or even both parties may withdraw the contested divorce case at any time and have an uncontested divorce instead.
Spouses who have not registered their marriage in Thailand but have been residing or working in Thailand for a reasonable length of time can terminate their marriage only through a contested divorce.