Okay, so you’re through with what you thought would be the hard part. You’ve dated, singled out one special lady, and after a few months or a year of dating, have decided to propose.
Thai marriage laws are fairly simple. But before you go running off to the marriage office, first be certain you’ve considered all the important aspects of getting married in Thailand.
First, there is the issue of assets. If you are already well into a career and settled in your home country in any kind of employment, you probably will have acquired a house, stock portfolio, or other assets that you will want to protect for the future. Thai marriage laws make it easy to protect your assets in the form of a pre-nuptial agreement.
A pre-nuptial agreement is a document that both you and your fiancée sign agreeing that everything you owned before marriage will remain exclusively yours in the case that you two should divorce.
A Thai woman otherwise might be able to claim legally that half of your assets belong to her in the courts in your home country, in accordance with the laws of your home country. Although these laws do not exist in Thailand, your marriage is valid everywhere, and thus subject to the law both in your own country and in hers.
A pre-nuptial agreement should be prepared by a professional - not by a friend or by you. This is because the language and processing of this document is crucial to assure it will be valid for years to come.
What if you want to own a house in Thailand, or a business? Current Thai law doesn’t allow a foreigner to fully own any piece of land or business on their own, so talk to your wife about this.
Any land your wife buys, though, automatically becomes an asset of the both of you equally unless you sign a document waiving your right to the property. Make sure you do your homework and talk with a lawyer about any major investment plans the two of you make together. You’ll want to assure that the future is secure for both you and your children and loved ones, in the case of any changes in the future. Be optimistic, but keep a realistic outlook on everything.
After you have settled these issues with your partner, make a visit to your local embassy. You’ll need a passport that is valid. Ask for an affidavit to bring to the Thai marriage office, which we call the angur.
The affidavit will include your personal details like place and date of birth, the names of your parents, and most importantly, shows you are eligible to be married because your divorce is finalized or that you are recognized as a single person.
There are also legal details, such as that you are not under guardianship of someone else due to a mental disability preventing you from consenting to a marriage on your own. This simple document is the main part of the waiting in the marriage process. Most embassies take about three to five days to process this document for you.
The next step is to have this document translated into the Thai language, along with a few other things. These include a document attesting to your current occupation and your annual income, and all the information on your passport.
Hire a lawyer for this so that you can be assured the process runs smoothly and is accomplished correctly. Otherwise you will only waste time and money having to do it again. Present this package at your local angur, along with all the equivalent information from your partner.
Since she will most likely be a registered citizen of Thailand, she will need only to present her identification documents and her eligibility to be legally married (that she is of age and officially single).
That’s everything! Remember that the beauty of a wedding in Thailand is the traditional ceremony, held in nature with attending monks and beautiful clothing and fresh flowers! The marriage laws are only there to make the legal process official for both parties involved.
In fact, most people only report it taking a week or less to process everything. Many couples opt for the legal wedding in Thailand and a more traditional wedding back in the home country, or they take their time in settling down and getting to know one another before undergoing a traditional Buddhist ceremony.
A lot will depend on your fiancée, her age, and the expectations of her loved ones.
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