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Marriage in Thailand

By Chaninat Leeds
Chaninat & Leeds Co. Ltd.

In Thailand it is legal for foreigners to marry either Thai citizens or other foreign nationals. The process is generally fairly straightforward. Certain paperwork is required, all of which must be translated into the Thai language and legalized pursuant to Thai law. In addition, certain considerations, such as prenuptial agreements should be considered when marrying in Thailand, as special rules apply.

Thailand Marriage can be performed at a local district office known as an 'amphur' or 'khet'. In order for foreigners to get married in Thailand they must have clearance from their embassy. Embassies of different countries have different procedures for providing this clearance. In general, the Thai district offices that perform marriages require affidavits that assert the name of the foreigner, as well as personal details such as confirmed citizenship of that country and legal freedom to marry. Once those foreign affidavits are obtained, they must be translated into Thai and legalized pursuant to Thai law. At that point parties must proceed to the necessary district office for an administrative Thailand marriage.

A marriage in Thailand is a legal Thailand marriage pursuant to Thai law and is normally recognized throughout the world. This allows for certain benefits to marrying in Thailand. For individuals with trans-national issues, where one or more spouse is from a different country, Thailand is a very convenient location in which to marry.

Another advantage of getting married in Thailand is the variety of picturesque locations, such as world class beach resorts, where a formal or religious ceremony can be performed following the legal administrative marriage.

So how long does an administrative marriage in Thailand take? Including the time involved in procuring affidavits from an embassy, having those documents translated and legalized, and having the marriage performed at a local amphur, the process can be completed in as little as 3 - 4 days. Sometimes, if there are complications, such as back-ups in paperwork at an embassy, or different requirements for certain nations' embassies, the process can take longer.

It is helpful to retain the services of a lawyer to supervise the marriage. A law office can help co-ordinate the procurement of official documents from the embassy and have them translated and legalized quickly with minimum problems. Familiarity with the formalities of a Thai marriage, access to qualified translators, and an understanding of the legalization process reduces the likelihood of delay or complication.

Prenuptial agreements are allowed in Thailand provided they meet the procedural requirements of Thai law. Generally, it is advisable to have a law office assist you with the preparation of a prenuptial agreement and the translation and legalization of such an agreement pursuant to Thai law. These prenuptial agreements are generally considered valid legal agreements in jurisdictions outside of Thailand. Although, litigation can be an unpredictable process and the laws of different countries may vary, it is always safer for persons with assets or significant property to have a prenuptial agreement.



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