When complicated family disputes rear their ugly heads, and there is no recourse left for the family or a married couple, it’s then time to employ the services of a Family Law Solicitor.
A family law solicitor is a person who will be the mediator between the embattled parties. The solicitor aims to make the legal process that is being undertaken painless, easy, and cost-saving. All the while ensuring that the best possible outcome is guaranteed for their client. The services of family law solicitors extend to various sections of Thai law practice.
These include Divorce, separation, spousal support, and matters pertaining to the well-being of children, such as custody and child support.
While this is true for all kinds of family litigation the world over, it is significant for a foreign national who has married a Thai national. According to recent statistics, divorce rates are much higher in marriages between Thai nationals and ex-pats. This is primarily because of the cultural differences and the language barrier. Unfortunately, in these cases, when the honeymoon period ends, the need for a highly-skilled Thai family law solicitor comes in.
The Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand covers family disputes such as divorce, custody and child support, prenuptial agreements, civil union, and a plethora of other cases. The ex-pat will need a family law solicitor in any and all of these situations. These cases can be lengthy and costly even in one's home country, never mind an adopted one.
Without a prenuptial agreement, even before the wedding, things can get ugly, as the bride and groom struggle to find common ground when agreeing on what the terms of their prenup are.
In Thailand, a prenuptial agreement is defined as a contract drawn up prior to a marriage that serves two purposes. The first of these is to define and secure the finances and assets of each party before entering the marriage. The second aims to protect the parties from taking on any debt or other financial responsibilities from their partner to be. As with most laws in Thailand, a marriage is considered a civil contract.
To quote: “ Under Section 1465 of the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand: “Where the husband and wife have not, previous to their marriage, concluded a special agreement concerning their properties, the relations between them as regards to their properties shall be governed by the provisions of this Chapter.”
“Any clause in the anti-nuptial (also called prenuptial) agreement contrary to public order or good morals, or provided that the relations between them as regards such properties are to be governed by foreign law shall be void.”
A prenuptial agreement can also include making decisions for the future of any children resulting from the union. These provisions can have child support, custody arrangements, and spousal support if needed.
For a prenuptial agreement to be valid under Thai law, both individuals must agree upon and sign the agreement before the marriage is registered. If it is not, the prenup will be invalid.
There are two forms of divorce for when a marriage has been registered in Thailand, both requiring the services of a family law solicitor. These are contested divorce and uncontested divorce.
An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree to mutually dissolve the marriage without the need for it to go to court. It is the most favoured route to take as it is quick and does not involve lengthy court proceedings. It may even be awarded on the same day. It also saves on legal fees due to its swiftness and allows for a reduced amount of unpleasantness that a long-drawn-out divorce may lead to.
This is especially important for ex-pats wanting to have the process over as quickly as possible.
In the case of a contested divorce, the opposite is true. A contested divorce is when one spouse does not agree to the divorce, the divorce terms. This leads to litigation and court proceedings and should be done only when no alternative is available.
In Thailand, as with the rest of the world, child support, custody, and spousal support can be hotly contested subjects. Ideally, these terms would have been defined in the prenuptial agreement signed before the marriage took place. However, this is not always the case, as the once happy couples didn't believe they would land up separating.
Family law solicitors in Thailand are equally skilled at ensuring that if these do become a legal issue, the best interests of the child or children are looked after and providing the correct legal advice to their client.
The law regarding financial support for children states that both parents are responsible for their well-being financially. This extends to the age of 20. When the parents are separating, the issue comes in where one parent will be granted custody, and the other will be required to pay child support. The payment amount is dictated by the court examining the financial status of the parent in question and, once again, the child's best interests.
Under Thai law, the child's best interests are determined by the court system. This is done under the Observation and Protection Centre, which will recommend and report on evaluations done by a social worker on the parents and child. Custody will then be awarded to the parent that is best suited to provide the correct environment for raising the child.
There are many reasons to employ the services of a Thai family solicitor as a foreigner. First and foremost of these is a family dispute, whether between a married couple or family members, these can get very nasty, very quickly.
Traditionally in Thailand, the preferred way of resolving these kinds of issues is quickly and with a minimum of fuss.
Because of the complexities and nuances of Thai family law, the average person will not navigate them without expert assistance from a family law solicitor, which can lead to lengthy, bitter, and costly proceedings.