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FAMILY LAW OF THAILAND
By Wimolsiri Jamnarnwej
A marriage can take place only if a man and a woman have attained the full age of seventeen years, but the court may grant an age dispensation for reasonable causes.(8)
A minor who has attained the full age of seventeen but is under twenty years must receive the consent of his or her parent or guardian in the case where there are no parents or the parents have been deprived of parental power.(9)
(2) Prohibited Degrees of Relationship
Thai family law forbids marriages between close relatives such as where the man and woman are blood relatives under the direct ascendant or descendant line, or brother or sister of full or half blood.(10)
Where there is a marriage contrary to this provision, the court will decide that the marriage is void.
The law also forbids marriages between the adopter to the adopted.(11) A marriage violating to this provision will result in dissolution of the adoption.(12)
(3) Unsound Mind
A marriage cannot take place if the man or the woman is a person of unsound mind or a person adjudged incompetent.(13)
A marriage contrary to this provision shall be void.(14)
Prior to October 1, 1935 polygamy freely practiced in Thailand. The old family law classified wives into three categories, according to the way they become wives.(15)
1. "Mia Glang Muang" the official wife whom a man's parents acquired for him. 2. "Mia Glang Norg" the minor wife whom the man acquired by himself after his official wife. 3. "Mia Glang Tasee" slave wives whom the husband bought from the parents of the former their owners.
His children from these wives were regarded as legitimate. Registration of marriage was not required by the Law of Husband and wife.
King Chulalongkorn tried to abolish the extra-territorial rights of foreign powers by modernizing Thai laws in keeping with European standards. Monogamy has thus been adopted into Thai family law since October 1, 1935. However, polygamy still exists, is practiced, and is accepted(16), although the law states:
"A man or a woman cannot marry each other while one of them has a spouse.(17)
Registration of marriage is required by the present family law in order to validate the marriage.(18)
(8) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1448.
(9) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1454.
(10) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1450.
(11) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1451.
(12) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1598/32.
(13) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1449.
(14) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1496.
(15) Law of Husband and Wives B.E. 1904.
(16) Chintana Yossoonthorn, Women in Thailand, Proceedings of the Peace Corps Conference on Women and Development Bangkok, 1979, p. 11.
(17) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1452.
(18) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1457.