Litigious divorces are not very common in Thai courts however, with the rise in wealth there is a significant uptick in the process. Until 1935 the husband had full power over all the property in the marriage. This changed in 1976 when new laws allowed for joint control over all the property in a marriage in equal share. The division is now based on fault during divorce and a claim has to be registered during the divorce proceedings. Divorces on a whole have increased according to the latest statistics.
There are two types of Matrimonial Assets in Thailand and they become very relevant during a divorce in Thailand. There is the Sin Suan Tua (Personal Property) and the Sin Somoros (Conjugal Property).
They are explained as follows in the Civil and Commercial Code:
Civil & Commercial Code: Sec 1470 and 1471 (Sin Suan Tua)
1. This is property belonging to either spouse before marriage;
2. This is property for personal use such as clothing or tools of trade;
3. Property acquired during marriage by way of inheritance or gifts;
4. Khongman otherwise known as an engagement gift.
If this “Sin Suan Tua is sold or destroyed or even exchanged, the proceeds and any new property purchased with the money will then also be seen as “Sin Suan Tau”. Each spouse is the manger of his or her own “Sin Suan Tau”. The other class of property is known as “Sin Somoros”. This is explained as follows by the Civil and Commercial Code:
Civil and Commercial code: Section 1474 (Sin Somoros)
(1) This is property acquired during marriage;
(2) This is property acquired by either spouse during marriage through a will of gift declared by will
(3) This is fruits of Sin Suan Tua.
In terms of Point 3, if as an example your wife has a company which she inherited, the company would be seen as “Sin Suan Tau” and the profits from the company would be the “Sin Somoros”. In terms of the law if there is any doubt as to the status of property it would be presumed to be “Sin Somoros”. Property that is seen as “Sin Somoros” would otherwise be under joint control. Permission is needed of both spouses regarding the property for the following purposes as it comes to bear during the division of property during the divorce in Thailand:
Selling, exchanging, sale with the right of redemption;
Letting out property on hire-purchase, mortgaging, releasing mortgage to mortgagor or
Transferring the right of mortgage on immovable property or on movable property.
Divorce in Thailand: Dividing of the Property
After a divorce is granted, the property is subjected to liquidation. Section 1532 however creates two different time frames for the liquidation of the property during a divorce in Thailand:
A divorce in Thailand by mutual consent, the liquidation of the property will apply to the property as it was on the date of the registration of the divorce in Thailand;
A divorce in Thailand by court order, the liquidation of the property will apply to the property as it was on the date of the application for divorce in Thailand. Upon the granting of the divorce in Thailand the “Sim Somros” is divided into equal shares between the partners. If however one of the partners has disposed of property that needed the permission of both spouses, the guilty spouse is liable for the destruction of the property and its value is taken into account during the division of the “Sin Somros”.
A divorce in Thailand is not straightforward as what it might be in the West. When contemplating a divorce in Thailand it is always best to consult a reputable attorney first. As can be seen even a simple division of community of property is not always on a 50/50 bases and as such your divorce in Thailand could set you back financially. Any divorce in Thailand be it a divorce by mutual consent or not, always needs expert legal advice as all proceedings and documents are in Thai and the laws for divorce in Thailand will be alien to you. Speak to a divorce attorney in Thailand today.