prenuptial in Thailand
A prenuptial in Thailand is established through agreement between a man and a woman who are about to be married. A prenuptial agreement in Thailand (download ZIP-package) is ONLY a valid contract if it is made BEFORE the marriage and REGISTERED with the local municipality government office where the marriage takes place.
A prenuptial in Thailand is primarily governed by the sections 1465 to 1469 of the Civil and Commercial Code. Under Thai marriage laws the prenuptial agreement primarily deals with assets and financial consequences of the marriage and sets out the terms of possession and management of personal property and specific jointly owned marital property and potential division of marital assets should the marriage later be dissolved. The prenuptial also includes a list (balance) of each party's personal assets at the time of marriage and guarantees that debts and property acquired before the marriage stay with the original owner or debtor.
The primary function of a prenuptial under Thai law
- the main purpose of existence of a prenuptial is protecting personal property brought into the marriage, and
- management over personal and certain marital property (as specified in section 1476 civil code)
How to make a valid prenuptial under marriage laws
Formal legal requirements under Thai law
1 - the content of the prenuptial made in Thailand cannot be against the law or good morals (section 1465);
2 - both the prospective husband and wife must understand the content of the (Thai-English version) prenuptial;
3 - the prenuptial in Thailand must be made before the marriage, a contract between husband and wife concerning personal and jointly owned property made after the marriage registration (post-nuptial) is void (section 1466);
4 - both the future husband and wife must sign the prenuptial in the presence of at least 2 witnesses and the agreement must be entered into the Marriage Register together with the marriage (section 1466).
How to do a prenuptial in Thailand
Before the marriage in Thailand:
- contact your embassy in Thailand for the required official documents for marriage (among others for the statement that you are free to marry)
- prepare official translations of these documents (your embassy can advice in the procedure and documents, if it is not already on your embassy's or consulate's website)
- should your Thai fiancée just come out of a previous marriage (within 310 days) a doctor’s certificate is required to state that she is not pregnant (section 1453 Civil and Commercial Code)
At the same time:
- prepare the Thai English script prenuptial and exhibits to the contract as dowloaded in the ZIP-file)
- print 3 sets of documents to be taken to the government office together with the other documents
- bring 2 witnesses to the wedding at the local amphur for witnessing the wedding and signing the prenuptial.
The complete and prepared prenuptial contract needs to be presented to the government official conducting the marriage together with the other official documents required for the marriage registration. It is common that government officials expect a small amount of 'extra money' for official registrations, such as a marriage and prenuptial agreement (this this has nothing to do with bribery but in fact requests some extra care of the official that everything is done correctly).
Family laws in Thailand
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)
continue with the full civil code (index page)
International aspects in a prenuptial
When the prospective spouses with different nationalities enter into a marriage in Thailand the marriage has an international dimension. With an international prenuptial is meant that the marriage contract is drafted based on the individual circumstances of the prospective spouses involved and possible future plans of husband and wife and with the legal consequences of the marriage under the laws of the different jurisdictions in mind. When a couple from different countries (Thai/ foreign) enter into marriage in Thailand they should, in addition to legal advice in Thailand, ask for a legal advice on this matter from a legal professional qualified to give legal advice on the financial consequences of marriage under the other jurisdiction involved. This is especially important when you have assets outside Thailand you want to protect.
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