What are Prenuptial Agreements?

Simply defined, they are a pre-planned device to separate assets (and liabilities) should the marriage not work out. Normally, one party accepts far less than (s)he would receive if the marriage failed and the parties then went to court to divide assets and liabilities. They are legal and enforceable in the U.S. and in other countries provided certain formalities are strictly observed.

Why do I need a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are necessary to create a financial plan which can be managed through the course of marriage/or upon the disintegration of the marriage. It is also useful for people who own substantial assets and properties and wish to control the division of the assets upon divorce.

Can we have an agreement after the marriage is registered?

According to Thai law, an agreement made after the marriage does not have the same effect as a prenuptial agreement.

What cannot be done in a Thai Prenup?

If you have adopted the Thai’s child (children), you cannot un-adopt them. They remain your responsibility the same as if they were your biological children—unless the Thai finds a new mate willing to adopt them! You also cannot provide for child support in a fashion a court might determine to be inadequate.

Should I make such an agreement with my Thai partner?

From a legal perspective, everyone should have a “prenup”. Especially, however, in a situation such as we often see in Thailand, where emotions may overrun common sense, an American contemplating marriage with a Thai who has had a work experience involving multiple partners should absolutely have such an agreement.

How much can I lose if I don’t get a “prenup”?

Divorce/separation property split rules vary by state, but generally at least provide for a split of all assets acquired by both parties during the course of the marriage. Of critical importance, assets to be split include “commingled” property. For instance, if you put your partner’s name on your bank account (composed of money you earned over the past twenty years), when you split up, she splits the account! So, too, with money you pour into a house in both of your names.

Which types of property division can I specify in a prenuptial agreement?

It depends on the law involved; This may be Thai law or the law of the spouse’s home country (or a combination of both). Under Thai law, you may be able to specify the properties involved and separate them into two categories – community property and separate property. You can also specify how finances will be managed during the marriage. However, restrictions on child support are generally not allowed.

Does it matter if I get married in Thailand or my home country?

Yes. There are issues concerning conflicts of law and the applicability of those laws. Therefore, it is important that your attorneys understand both the laws in and outside of Thailand.