There are contested and non-contested divorces in Thailand. If you and your spouse cannot agree on all the terms of a divorce then you must file for contested divorce.
This legal proceeding should be handled by a qualified Thailand family lawyer. It will take into consideration various laws such as the time limit for filing divorce on grounds of desertion or abandonment.
1. Extramarital Affair
One of the most common grounds for divorce in Thailand is adultery. The law defines adultery as sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their spouse for a sustained period. In order to prove adultery the petitioning spouse will need to provide convincing evidence. This can include photographs, witness testimony, videos and even Facebook posts. Providing this kind of evidence can be very costly especially in Thailand where top-notch investigators will be required.
Many couples succumb to affairs due to a lack of intimacy in their marriage and this can be very difficult to overcome. It can also lead to a downward spiral of cheating where the spouse starts spending more and more money on their new lover and this may quickly run out of control. If the offended party can prove the extramarital affair they may be entitled to compensation in terms of Section 1525 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code. This can be in the form of a lump sum payment or in the form of regular payments.
If a married party abandons the family or the spouse without any explanation it is considered as an act of abandonment and this is a ground for divorce in Thailand. This is considered a serious offense as it is an important aspect of a healthy marriage where spouses should be faithful and support each other in the good times and bad.
This is a very serious offense because it shows that one of the parties has lost interest in the marriage. It also means that the other party would not want to continue their marriage with the erring spouse.
In this case the spouse will need to provide proof of the misconduct and the court will consider whether there is a cause for the divorce.
3. Serious Infliction of Damages
If a party has seriously insulted the other spouse or their ascendants it can be a ground for divorce in Thailand. The alleged insult must be so severe that continuing family life would subject the innocent spouse to serious harm.
It also can be a ground for divorce if one spouse abandons the other indefinitely and without their consent. Again this must be accompanied by a refusal to resume family life.
In general if the parties can agree on the terms of their divorce a procedure at the local Amphur can be quicker, less expensive and far simpler than a contested divorce. However if the parties are not able to agree on matters such as the division of their marital or jointly owned property, custody of children and if alimony should be paid the matter will need to be heard in court. This will take considerably more time, money and court appearances for both parties.
In some cases, maltreatment can lead to a divorce in Thailand. However, it is important to note that this is a very broad ground and must be accompanied by clear evidence of a serious nature of the mistreatment. The act must also make it impossible for the innocent spouse to continue family life with the erring party. Otherwise, the court may dismiss the petition as baseless and frivolous.
In case of a mutual consent divorce (you can read about the Thai divorce laws here), both spouses have to agree on certain subjects such as child custody, property or debt. In such a case, the couple will not need to go to court and can register their divorce at the district office. If the husband and wife are not in agreement, it will have to be a contested divorce and the matter will be decided by a judge in court based on the law and individual circumstances.