Lets talk about property in marriage. Before getting married in Thailand consider the implications with regards to property in Thailand. Thai law is much different to British laws and their view of property in marriage is explained below. If you are considering marriage or retirement in Thailand then speak to an attorney in Bangkok or Phuket for more information and assistance.
Property in Marriage
You will note why a prenuptial agreement is a good idea even under Thai law. Marital property in Thailand is called ‘somros’. Usually during a divorce this ‘somros’ is divided equally much like community of property in the United Kingdom.
There are 2 types of property in marriage based on Thai law. The first being the ‘Sin Suan Tua’ which is property which you owned before marriage. Then there is ‘Sin Somros’ which is property you bought together after marriage.
Property bought after marriage – ‘Sin Somros’
- a) Property you bought or your Thai wife bought during the course of the marriage;
- b) Goods or property you both received as a gift or inheritance where the gift was for both;
- c) Any income or fruits from private property (Sin Suan Tua)
Property bought before marriage – ‘Sin Suan Tua’
- a) Property which belonged to you or your wife before marriage;
- b) Property inherited or given as a gift to you only and not as a couple;
- c) Personal property which you use to generate an income as well as clothing;
- d) Gift given at the engagement “Khongman” which is any gifts give to you.
Prenuptial Agreements and Property
Many foreigners who retire in Thailand would consider a prenuptial agreement unnecessary as Thai law tends to allow you to leave with what you came. If however you are taking your wife back to Britain then British law is not going to view the property as private property or communal property. Always take sound legal advice from an attorney in Thailand before you tie the knot as property in Thailand is where most of the litigation takes place as the property laws in Thailand has its limitations.
Even with Thai laws you still don’t have full protection as you as a foreigner are not allowed to own land or a house or villa in Thailand in your name. Only a Thai national may hold land or the villa. Thai law stipulates that the house will be in her name and you have to go to the Land Office to swear that you have no claim against the property.
In a divorce, you will be without a house and you cannot force her to sell it. The Thai marriage laws was designed for a Thai-Thai marriage and not a Thai-British marriage. The prenuptial agreement in Thailand is thus still useful in this regard as well as having a usufruct over the property which will allow you to live in the house legally even after a divorce.
Many place the property in the name of a Thai company however this becomes even more complicated during a divorce. As stated above take proper legal advice with regards to a prenuptial agreement as well as other measures to protect your investments during marriage.