Family Law in Thailand
FAMILY LAW in Thailand is primarily codified in the Civil and Commercial Code. The legal system of Family Law in Thailand is based on the European Civil Law system with main influences from the French Civil Law. In Civil Law the general rule is codified and works from the top general written law down. Thai law is not made by judges or by judicial decisions based on custom and precedent (as in common law), but in practice it is impossible to understand Civil Law without also taking into account relevant decisions of courts. In practice it is often difficult to understand the specifics of written laws without also taking into account previous court rulings and relevant Supreme Court judgments and opinions on specific sections or elements of the law applied.
A court or judge can in any case not rule in conflict with the Civil and Commercial Code. The main collection of Family Laws Thailand can be found in the Civil and Commercial Code (Book 5). Below the relevant section of the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code with links to relevant family law related sections (a full index of the Thailand civil and commercial code can be found here...):
- Book I Title I, Natural Persons
- Part I Personality → Sections 15 - 18
- Part II Capacity → Sections 19 - 36
- Part III Domicile → Sections 37 - 47
- Part IV Disappearance → Sections 48 - 64
- Book V Title I, Marriage
- Part I Betrothal → Sections 1435 - 1447
- Part II Conditions of Marriage → Sections 1448 - 1460
- Part III Relationship of Husband and Wife → Sections 1461 - 1464
- Part IV Property of Husband and Wife → Sections 1465 - 1493 (personal and marital assets)
- Part V Void of Marriage → Sections 1494 - 1500 (annulment)
- Part VI Termination of Marriage → Sections 1501 - 1535 (divorce and death)
- Book V Title II Parent and Child
- Part I Parentage → Sections 1536 - 1560
- Part II Rights and Duties Parent and Child → Sections 1561 - 1584
- Part III Guardianship → Sections 1585 - 1598/18
- Part IV Adoption → Sections 1598/19 - 1598/37 (external: adoption guidelines)
- Part V Maintenance Sections 1598/38 - 1598/40
- Book VI Succession
- Continue here...
- Book I to VI Index
- Full Civil and Commercial Code index here...
Practical legal knowledge for foreigners in Thailand:
Marriage in Thailand
Couples wanting to formalize their relationship in Thailand must enter into a civil marriage. Thai law does not recognize same sex marriages, common law or 'de facto' marriages or Buddhist marriages. Only when the marriage is officially registered and entered into the marriage register a marriage is created. A marriage in Thailand cannot take place if the man or woman is already the spouse of another person (section 1452). Bigamy (marrying one person while still legally married to another) is a criminal offense under the Penal Code (section 137 'giving false information to a government official conducting the marriage and registration') (read more...).
Real estate ownership by a Thai married to a foreigner
Marriage with a foreigner (under Thai or foreign law) does affect the right of a Thai national to own property in Thailand. Prior to 1999 Thais married to a foreigner lost the right to legally purchase and own land in Thailand (or any real estate property prohibited for foreign ownership). Currently a Thai married to a foreigner is allowed to register ownership in property in Thailand, but a legal procedure is required (read more...).
Prenuptial agreements in Thailand
A prenuptial agreement is recognized in section 1465 of the Civil and Commercial Code. A Thai prenuptial agreement is a formal agreement made before the official marriage in Thailand and governs the financial relations between the prospective husband and wife as regards to their properties. The legal requirements which determine the validity of the prenuptial is also found in the Civil and Commercial Code (read more...)
Divorce in Thailand
A divorce in Thailand formal or the legal ending of a marriage. A divorce in Thailand means the dissolution of a marriage by the judgment of a court on the grounds for divorce given in the Civil and Commercial Code under the chapter 'termination of marriage' or a divorce on request by both the husband and wife by the Amphur or municipality in Thailand. The amphur or amphoe is the district government administrative office (read more...)
Inheritance laws in Thailand
Foreigners’ right on properties acquired by inheritance and foreigners right to dispose of property by succession. If a person dies his assets can be transferred either by will or through inheritance and succession laws (where the deceased has failed to execute a valid will). If a person has not made a will his/her wishes may not necessarily be carried out. Foreigners with assets in Thailand should be aware of limitations of transferring interests and ownership by inheritance in Thailand (read more...)
- Prenuptial Agreement
- Last Will Testament Thailand"
- Child protection act (external)
- Child adoption act (external)