Grounds for Divorce in Thailand Explained

The Thai Civil and Commercial Code list numerous grounds for divorce in Thailand. Most people who are planning to divorce in Thailand take the liberty of reading and construing these grounds literally without seeking the assistance of a lawyer in Thailand. While some grounds are indeed self-explanatory, some need to be explained by a lawyer so that the grounds are appreciated correctly by its readers.

Herewith are the grounds for divorce in Thailand some explanations for each ground.

1. The husband has maintained and taken another as his wife, or the wife has committed adultery; this ground pertains to extra-marital relations which either or both parties may be guilty of. The innocent spouse has the right to come to court and file for the divorce. If both are guilty of having extra-marital relations, then either party may start the process of divorce with the court.

2. A spouse is guilty of misconduct, whether criminal or not, and causes the other spouse to:
a. be seriously ashamed;
b. be Insulted or hated on account of his/her continued marriage with the other spouse;
c. sustain excessive injury or difficulty where the condition, position and cohabitation as husband and wife is taken into consideration; Misconduct of a spouse per se is not enough to stand as a ground for divorce. The shame, insult, hate, excessive injury or difficulty felt by the injured party must qualify the misconduct
if this is the ground chosen for the divorce.

3. One spouse had seriously harmed or tortured the body or mind of the other, or has seriously insulted the other spouse or his ascendants; The above actually speaks of two grounds: First is the physical or mental torture committed by one spouse, the second is the serious insult that the guilty spouse has done against the parents of the injured spouse. Respect for ascendants is a very vital issue in Thai society. Respect does not stop with the spouse but extends to the ascendants of the other party. Any serious insult on the person of the spouse’s ascendants is a ground for him/her to avail of divorce from the spouse.

4. One spouse has deserted the other for more than one year; or
a. One spouse has been sentenced by a final judgment and has been imprisoned for a year, and the innocent spouse has no participation, consent or knowledge of the offense committed by the other, and the continued cohabitation shall cause the innocent spouse to sustain excessive injury or difficulty;
b. The spouses have voluntarily lived separately for at least three years for being unable to cohabit peacefully, or that they have lived separately for at least three years by order of the court; There are four grounds listed in the above provision: First - Desertion of a spouse for a year; Second - A spouse is adjudged by court as guilty for an offense and has actually been imprisoned for a year; Third – Mutual separation of the spouses for at least three years because of their inability to cohabit peacefully; and lastly – separation of the spouses for at least three years by reason of a court order which is usually accompanied with a suspension of some civil and political rights.

5. One spouse has been adjudged to have disappeared for at least three years and it is uncertain whether he/she is still living or dead; the present spouse is allowed to come to court and petition for the declaration of presumptive death of the other spouse after the former has exerted diligent effort to locate the missing party.

6. One spouse has failed to give the other maintenance for a year, or has committed acts adverse to the relationship; ordinarily, it is the husband who provides financially for the family, although in recent times, both spouses have shared responsibility in shouldering family expenses. In either case, the financially capable spouse should have discontinued supporting the family financially for at least a year, and this has caused undue stress to the other party.

7. One spouse has been suffering for insanity for the last three years, and such insanity is incurable; the party relying on this ground has the burden of proving the insanity of the other spouse by use of medical diagnosis and testimony from unbiased witnesses. The insanity should also be incurable and should have lasted for at least three years prior to the filing of the divorce case.

8. One spouse has broken the bond of good behavior; the bond here pertains to a written agreement entered into by the parties before the marriage. The parties may actually draw rules on what is to be considered as good behavior during the marriage, and which they must exhibit during the course of the marriage.

9. One spouse is suffering from a communicable and dangerous disease which is incurable and may cause injury to the other; the disease should have been diagnosed by an unbiased expert, and must have the characteristic of danger, communicability and incurability.

10. One spouse has a physical disadvantage so as to be permanently unable to cohabit with the other. The physical disadvantage pertains to the sexual incapability or one or both parties, such that the possibility of raising a family, which is one important purpose of marriage, cannot be accomplished.

Rebecca Ponce works as Legal Advisor at Siam Legal Thailand. She is a licensed lawyer in the Philippines. Her field of specialization is foreign divorce, marriage in Thailand, Adoption in Thailand and other concerns related to Family laws.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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