Filing of Divorce in Thailand

Divorce is a challenging and emotionally charged process, regardless of where it occurs. In Thailand, divorce proceedings are governed by specific laws and regulations, and understanding the process is crucial for those contemplating or undergoing divorce. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the key steps and requirements involved in filing for divorce in Thailand.

  1. Grounds for Divorce in Thailand:
    • Thai law recognizes several grounds for divorce, including:
      • Adultery: If one spouse engages in extramarital affairs, the other spouse can file for divorce.
      • Desertion: If a spouse has deserted their partner for over one year, divorce may be pursued.
      • Separation: If spouses have lived separately for at least three consecutive years, divorce may be granted.
      • Mental Health: If a spouse has been medically certified as mentally ill for at least three years, divorce may be pursued.
      • Physical Harm: If one spouse endangers the life or causes severe harm to the other, divorce can be sought.
      • Non-Support: If a spouse fails to provide adequate financial support for at least one year, divorce may be considered.
      • Imprisonment: If one spouse is sentenced to imprisonment for over one year, divorce is a valid option.
  2. Jurisdiction and Eligibility:
    • To file for divorce in Thailand, at least one party must be a Thai national, or both spouses must reside in Thailand. If neither condition is met, the divorce must be filed in the country where the marriage took place or in the country where both parties are domiciled.
  3. Mediation and Counseling:
    • Before filing for divorce, couples are encouraged to participate in mediation and counseling sessions. In some cases, the court may require mediation as a prerequisite for divorce.
  4. Hiring Legal Representation:
    • While it is possible to file for divorce without legal representation, it is highly advisable to consult with an experienced family lawyer. A lawyer can provide valuable guidance on the legal process, assist with paperwork, and represent your interests in court if necessary.
  5. Filing a Divorce Petition:
    • To initiate the divorce process, one spouse (the petitioner) must file a divorce petition at the local district court where they reside. The petition should outline the grounds for divorce and include any relevant supporting evidence.
  6. Service of Process:
    • The court will serve the divorce petition to the other spouse (the respondent), who must respond within a specified timeframe. Failure to respond may result in the court proceeding without the respondent’s input.
  7. Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce:
    • If both spouses agree on the terms of the divorce, including issues related to property, child custody, and support, it is considered an uncontested divorce. In such cases, the divorce process is typically faster and less contentious. If there is disagreement on these matters, it becomes a contested divorce, which may require court intervention to reach a resolution.
  8. Division of Assets and Property:
    • In an uncontested divorce, the couple can decide how to divide their assets and property, and the court will approve their agreement. In contested divorces, the court will make decisions on asset and property division based on Thai law, which includes a 50/50 community property system.
  9. Child Custody and Support:
    • Child custody and support are among the most complex aspects of divorce. The court will prioritize the best interests of the child when determining custody and visitation rights. Child support may also be ordered based on the child’s needs and the parents’ financial capacity.
  10. Court Proceedings:
    • For contested divorces, the court will hold hearings and consider evidence presented by both parties. The court will issue a divorce decree if it finds the grounds for divorce to be valid and makes decisions on property division and child custody if necessary.
  11. Divorce Decree:
    • Once the court reaches a decision, it will issue a divorce decree, officially terminating the marriage. This decree is required for both civil and religious purposes.
  12. Post-Divorce Name Change:
    • After divorce, either spouse may request a name change. The name change must be done at the district office where the marriage was originally registered.
  13. Appeals:
    • If either party is dissatisfied with the court’s decision, they have the right to appeal the ruling within 30 days of receiving the verdict.


Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged process, and navigating it in Thailand involves understanding the country’s legal framework and requirements. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, it is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable family lawyer who can guide you through the process, protect your interests, and ensure that your rights are upheld.

While the steps outlined in this guide provide a general overview of the divorce process in Thailand, it is essential to seek legal advice specific to your situation, as divorce cases can vary significantly in complexity. With the right legal counsel and a clear understanding of the process, you can navigate divorce in Thailand with confidence and ensure the best possible outcome for your future.

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