Before you register your marriage in Thailand consider how Thai law views your property and that of your Thai fiancée before you register the marriage. You may want to consider other options to protect your property such as a prenuptial agreement or usufruct. Below is a brief explanation of property law in Thailand between husband and wife.
Marital property in Thailand is called ‘somros’ and is divided equally after a divorce. Consider a prenuptial before marriage registration. The prenuptial agreement however changes this as it looks at the property before the marriage during a divorce. In the West this would be called ‘community of property’ which is divided equally at divorce.
Thai Property in Marriage
Private property in Thailand being property you had before the marriage is called ‘Sin Suan Tua’ in Thailand. The divorce courts in Thailand with a prenuptial agreement will look at the ‘Sin Suan Tua’ at divorce. If you have no prenuptial agreement then they have to look at ‘Sin Somros’.
These are the two classes of property in Thai family law. Below is a brief breakdown of what each might be composed of:
Marital Private Property (“Sin Suan Tua”)
This property could consist of the following items:
(1) Property belonging to you or your Thai wife before the marriage;
(2) Personal property such as tools, clothing or any item you use or used in your profession. If you are a computer programmer maybe the computer or your musical instruments if you are a musician by trade. If you are British then you will note that it is similar to Roman Dutch law;
(3) Property which you obtain during marriage as a gift or as an inheritance during the course of the marriage. Property inherited tends to be the biggest ligation generator in this regard;
(4) “Khongman” which is property which had been given to you or your Thai wife at the engagement ceremony by each other. The car you gave her or any other gift.
Common Property “Sin Somros”
Common Property in Thailand would consist of the following:
(1) Property bought or otherwise acquired by either you or your wife during the marriage;
(2) Property received or gift or inheritance where both of you have been the beneficiary of. As an example someone might have left you a house in their last will and testament but left it to both of you.
(3) The fruits of private property would be any profits from a property such as rental income.
If you are not sure what type of property you are looking at or how it would be classified by the courts then you need to speak to an attorney about this. The most common issues during a divorce is which property falls under each category. The prenuptial agreement usually makes this far easier to manage. Most times in Thailand having a prenuptial agreement gives you leverage during a negotiation. ‘Horse trading’ is not uncommon where you give the flat for the house and the car as an example. Speak to a lawyer in Thailand for more advice on marital property issues.