Thai Family Law
civil marriage in Thailand
Marriage in Thailand is governed by the Civil and Commercial Code book 5, sections 1435 to 1535. A marriage (section 1457) can take place only if the man and woman (who are at least 18 years old) agree to take each other as husband and wife, and such agreement must be declared publicly before the Registrar in order to have it recorded by the Registrar. Marriage in Thailand is created and completed on formal registration and inclusion in the government's marriage register.
- Section 1457: Marriage under this code (civil and commercial code) shall be effected only on registration being made.
- Section 1458: A marriage can take place only if the man and woman agree to take each other as husband and wife, and such agreement must be declared publicly before the Registrar in order to have it recorded by the Registrar.
- continue with the relevant sections governing marriage (civil and commercial code)
Informal marriages (de-facto/ common law marriages)
De-facto informal marriages, common-law or Buddhist marriages or any religious marriage ceremony are not recognized as legal marriages under Thai civil law. Only officially registered marriages entered into the government´s marriage register are recognized as legal and valid marriages in Thailand and will create the rights, duties and responsibilities of husband and wife under Thai family laws.
Same sex marriages
It is under Thai marriage laws not possible to legalize same-sex gay relationships through a marriage. Thai family law does not allow same-sex marriages. Only opposite-sex couples are eligible to marry and have it recorded in the marriage registers.
Bigamy in Thailand
Bigamy in Thailand, or marrying one person while still legally married to another, is not permitted (civil law section 1452) and is a criminal offense under the Thailand penal code (criminal offence to knowingly making a false declaration).
Thai family law in the Civil Code
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)
BOOK V TITLE II PARENT AND CHILD
- Part I Parentage → Sections 1536 - 1560
- Part II Rights and Duties Parent and Child → Sections 1561 - 1584
- Part III Guardianship → Sections 1585 - 1598/18
- Part IV Adoption → Sections 1598/19 - 1598/37
- Part V Maintenance Sections 1598/38 - 1598/40
Foreigners marrying a Thai national in Thailand
Foreigners who want to marry a Thai national can enter into a marriage in Thailand which is only effected upon official registration of the marriage in the government's Marriage Register and issuance of the marriage certificate. The first step a foreigner marrying in Thailand should take is a visit to his embassy's or consulate's website for the procedure on obtaining an affidavit of free to marry stating he or she is free to marry (visit you embassy's website for details) and then have this translated followed by legalization by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A prenuptial agreement could be part of the pre-marriage documents to prepare.