How To Get Married in Thailand Legally
Marriage is one of the most important events in a person’s life. It celebrates love and leaves a priceless memory to cherish for a lifetime. It shall come as no surprise that couples choose to get married in Thailand for it offers the perfect setting for this monumental occasion, no matter what the couple’s preference may be, from serene beaches to rustic mountains, Thailand’s rich culture and heritage and amazing scenery definitely makes for the perfect wedding location.
Like any other special occasion, marriage takes a lot of preparation. If you are planning to get married in Thailand, you need to be familiarized with several processes and legalities it entails. Securing legal assistance from a local attorney is the best way to ensure that your marriage carries weight in Thailand and abroad, and guarantee compliance to Thai legal parameters. This may sound tedious at first, but rest assured that you’ve done much of the legwork. After all, you’ve already found love – that’s supposed to be the hardest part.
How to Get Married Legally in Thailand:
STEP 1: FULFILL ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
1.Either of them should not be less than 17 years of age or should be in marriageable age in accordance to the law enforced from your home country. The Court may, in case of having appropriate reason, allow them to marry before attaining such age.
2.Either of them should not be an insane person or adjudged incompetent.
3.Both of them should not be in blood relations in the direct ascendant or descendant line, or brother or sister of full or half blood i.e. should no be with in the prohibited degrees of relationship.
4.Both of them should not have the same adoptive parents.
5.Either of them should not have a spouse at the time of marriage. If woman whose husband died or whose marriage has become terminated, the marriage can only take place after expiry of 310 days from such death or termination of marriage, but before such period if:
(a)A child has been born during such period;
(b)The divorced couple remarry;
(c)There is a certificate issued by a qualified doctor who is a lawful physical practitioner in medicine showing that the woman is not pregnant;
(d)There is an order of the Court allowing the woman to marry
STEP 2: PREPARE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
Requirements for Thai Nationals:
1.Identification Cards of both parties
2.The House Registration Certificates of both parties
3.Person filing has previously registered marriage – If divorced, proof of divorce must be shown; in the event of spousal death (the applicant is a widow or widower) proof must accompany application
4.Accompaniment by witnesses
Requirements for Foreigners:
1.A copy of their passport along with arrival card
2.Affidavit regarding the marital status of the person from the respective embassy
3.Translated copy of affidavits to Thai certified by an approved Foreign Ministry Translator
STEP 3: HAVE YOUR MARRIAGE REGISTERED
A marriage can take place on declaration made by both the parties intending to marry by giving consent to take each other as husband and wife publicly before the registrar in order to have it recorded by the Registrar. Giving consent to the marriage may be made by:
1.Affixing the signature of the person giving consent in the Register at the time of registration of the marriage;
2.A consent document stating the names of the parties to the marriage and signed by the person giving consent;
3.Verbal declaration before at least two witnesses in case of necessity. The consent having been given cannot be revoked.
An application for registration for marriage can be filed at any District Office or Minor District Office nationwide regardless of the birthplace of the couple. If the marriage registration is filed at the District Office located in female’s birthplace (where the name is registered on the House Registration Certificate), the title used with the forename and the last name of the female will be changed by the District Officer. The female is required to file for a new Identification Card within 60 days. If the marriage is registered elsewhere, the female is required to contact the local District Office to change her name and last name, as well as filing for a new Identification Card. If both parties are unable to file for marriage at any District Office or Minor District Office, the couple can submit a request to the Registrar to register their marriage at any location under the supervision of that District Office. The parties filing for marriage are required to provide transportation for the Registrar. A service fee of 400 Baht is required by the ministry.
MARRIAGE PROCEDURES FOR FOREIGNERS
Foreigners who are wishing to marry shall appear in person with their respective passports and arrival card at their Embassy in Thailand to complete declarations attesting that he/ she is single and free to marry in accordance with Thai Law and the registration shall be effected by a Thai Diplomatic or Consular Officer.
1. Take the completed declaration to a reputable translation office to have the contents of the declaration translated into Thai.
2. The documents together with translation and copies of passports have to be taken to the Legalization Division of Consular Affairs Department, where the Consular Official’s signature will be authenticated. This normally takes 2 days. The documents and translation are then ready for submission to the District Registrar who will register the marriage and issue the marriage certificate in Thai in accordance with and following the procedure led down in Thai Law.
You should allow four working days in Bangkok prior to registering your marriage as you are required to have been a resident in Thailand for at least three days before you marry and you must allow time for the paperwork to be processed in Bangkok. This also allows you to visit some of the wonderful attractions in Bangkok.
Getting divorced in Thailand
There are 2 types of divorces in Thailand. These are Contested Divorces which tend to be very costly and then there are Uncontested Divorces which are much cheaper and are normally called Administrative Divorces. Speak to a Divorce Lawyer in Thailand before signing any agreements with regards to your divorce in Thailand.
An uncontested divorce is the administrative form of divorce in Thailand. It is preferred because it is swift and straightforward. For this divorce, parties do not need to have a ground to sever their marriage. Their mutual agreement to end the marital consortium is enough. The spouses must be physically present when applying for an uncontested divorce. It is conducted at the local register which is known as the amphur, amphoe or khet.
Contested divorce is judicial or court divorce. One party to the marriage is given recourse to go to the courts to end his/her marriage if any of the grounds provided under Thai law is attendant. This is usually availed of if there is a definite ground for divorce but only one of the parties is amenable to ending the marriage, or if one party has been absentee, and the absence has been a detriment to the other. Another reason to have this divorce is if there are disagreements on child custody and marital property sharing which the parties cannot settle by themselves, and the court’s intervention is necessary to put an end to the marriage and the accompanying issues. Contested divorce is also the remedy of some couples who have not registered their marriage in Thailand but have been residing or working in Thailand for a reasonable length of time.
Divorce – Thai & Thai
Thai’s usually end their marriage through an uncontested divorce. They favor this option because it averts further conflict between husband and wife, as well as their families. As much as they can, Thai couples will settle issues on the sharing of child custody and marital property privately. Only in rare cases when a compromise can no longer be reached do they consult with a lawyer to assist them in the drafting of a Thailand divorce agreement which they will register at the amphur when they get their divorce in Thailand.
Divorce – Thai & Foreigner
The rapid exposure of Thailand to the world in terms of commerce and tourism has resulted in many marriages between Thai nationals and foreigners. Unfortunately, differences between cultures and language have strained some relationships and Thailand divorce has become inevitable in these cases.
Almost always, the Thai spouse will suggest an uncontested divorce if the marriage registration took place in Thailand, as the uncontested divorce is more known and favored by Thais. Foreigners must take extra care before proceeding to have an uncontested divorce. The reason is that not all countries recognize this form of divorce. Many countries now recognize the uncontested divorce but only under special circumstances. It may pose more problems especially if the foreigner has plans of remarrying.
Divorce – Foreigner & Foreigner
Foreigners who want to divorce in Thailand must seek the advice of a lawyer so they may be guided if and how they can proceed to divorce. Your Thailand divorce lawyer must be able to advise you whether your home country will recognize a divorce that you will receive in Thailand. There are cases where couples would go through a divorce only to find out that their State cannot recognize their foreign divorce.