Much like the US prenuptial agreements are becoming very common in the United Kingdom. If you are going to have a prenuptial agreement drafted in Thailand then the agreement must not only be valid in Thailand but also the UK as you might decide to apply for a UK spouse visa and take your Thai wife back to the United Kingdom.
Always speak a lawyer in Thailand before you register your marriage in Thailand to ensure that the agreement is correct and done in the proper sequence. Getting it wrong can be a very costly affair.
British Courts do give weight to the prenuptial agreement and much like in Thailand they tend to look at the validity of the agreement first. The prenuptial agreement must show that:
- There are no illegal provisions in the agreement;
- Both parties understood the agreement;
- Both parties had independent legal advice and assistance;
- There is proof that both parties had independent legal advice;
- There was no duress or undue influence when the agreement was signed;
- There is no fraud in the agreement;
- The provisions are not impractical;
- The agreement was signed before or on the date of marriage registration;
- The agreement does not have morally reprehensible provisions in it.
Prenuptial Agreements in the UK
Once the basic are looked at the court will then look at the agreement to see if the agreement is fair. Considering the length of the marriage, health status and the birth of any children the courts will see if any of the provisions are unfair considering the current circumstances.
Unfairness might as an example be that you have ownership of property in Thailand however only your wife pays for the upkeep of the property while she shares no ownership or benefit to having the property. The court will also look at the circumstances at the time of the signing of the agreement to check that both parties knew what they had been signing.
The most common defense that is used in divorce disputes is when the foreign wife claims that she did not know what she was signing or could not understand what was written in the agreement as her English skills were not very good. To counter this the court would want proof that she understood what she was signing and also that she fully understood what the agreement entailed with regard to the property. Normally in Thailand the lawyer will take your Thai fiancée to another law firm to explain the agreement to her in Thai. She can then ask that attorney any questions. When done the law firm will give you lawyer a letter to certify that the agreement was explained to her and that she understood. This letter is almost as valuable as the agreement itself when there is a dispute.
The provisions are also looked at to check if any of the provisions are not impractical or illegal in the UK. An example would be that only on the birth of your second son can she obtain ownership of the house in Thailand. What happens if you only had daughters for 20 straight years? Such provisions would simply be ignored as it is impractical.
If you are taking your Thai wife back to the UK then contact an attorney to register your marriage and prenuptial agreement and when completed, also a visa for the UK.