Thai family law governs various aspects of family relationships, including property rights and division in case of divorce. Understanding these laws is essential for individuals entering into marriages in Thailand. Here, we will delve into the key provisions and classifications of property under Thai family law.
Property of Husband and Wife
Under the revised Civil and Commercial Code, Book 5 (Family), effective since October 16, 1976, the law ensures equal rights for both spouses in managing marital property. The outdated provision that allowed husbands to unilaterally manage the common property without the wife’s consent has been abolished.
Classification of Property
The property owned by the husband and wife is categorized into two main types: private property (“Sin Suan Tua”) and common property (“Sin Somros”). Here’s an overview of each:
1. Private Property (“Sin Suan Tua”)
Private property encompasses the following:
- Property owned by either spouse before the marriage.
- Personal items such as clothing, accessories, and tools necessary for the individual’s occupation or profession.
- Property acquired through a will or gratuitous gift during the marriage.
- “Khongman” or property given at the engagement ceremony as evidence of the intent to marry.
2. Common Property (“Sin Somros”)
Common property includes:
- All property acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage.
- Property obtained through a will or written gift during the marriage, explicitly declaring joint ownership by both husband and wife.
- Fruits or income generated from private property.
Determining Property Classification
In cases of uncertainty regarding the classification of property as private or common, Thai law presumes the property to be common unless proven otherwise. This presumption ensures a fair division of assets between spouses.
Equal Division of Marital Property on Divorce
Thai law mandates that marital property, or sin somros, be divided equally in the event of divorce. The division is based on the principle of fairness, considering the contributions and circumstances of each spouse during the marriage.
Importance of Prenuptial Agreements
Given the equal division principle, a prenuptial agreement holds significant importance in protecting the interests of individuals entering into a marriage. It allows couples to define the distribution of assets and financial responsibilities, providing clarity and certainty in case of divorce.
Understanding Thai family law and its provisions regarding property rights and division is crucial for couples entering into marriages in Thailand. Knowing the classifications of private and common property and the equal division principle ensures transparency and helps individuals protect their assets. Seeking legal advice and drafting a comprehensive prenuptial agreement can further safeguard the interests of both spouses.