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FAMILY LAW OF THAILAND
By Wimolsiri Jamnarnwej
The management of the common property other than those provided in paragraph one, can be done by either spouse without the consent of the other.
If either spouse has committed a juristic act mentioned above without the consent of the other spouse, such juristic act shall be valid only when it has been confirmed by the other spouse.
If the other spouse does not give consent to the act concerned or does not confirm it, he or she, as the case may be, may apply to the court to revoke such juristic act. However if it appears that a third party acted in good faith at the time of concluding such juristic act, such act cannot be revoked.
The right to revoke is limited to the period of one year from the time when the spouse is cognizant of the cause of revocation or ten years since the juristic act was done.(32)
The power to manage common property jointly between husband and wife does not mean that the couple must ask for consent from each other for every act. Either spouse has power to manage household affairs or to provide necessaries for the family.(33)
Debts incurred by either spouse during marriage are common debts which are binding on both spouses equally, as follows;(34)
(1) debts incurred for the necessary management of household affairs, maintenance, and medical expenses of the household and proper education of the children. (2) debts incurred in connection with the common property. (3) debts incurred in connection with a business carried on by the spouse in common. (4) debts incurred by either spouse only for his or her own benefit but confirmed by the other.
Upon termination of the marriage, the common property shall be returned to each spouse equally.(35) Both spouse are liable for common debts to the same proportion.(36)
The husband and wife have the duty to maintain and support each other according to his or her ability and status of life.(37)
Since the status of women in Thailand is very similar to the status of women all over the world, i.e. lower than men, most husband are expected to maintain and support their wives rather than the wives being expected to support their husbands.
When the party entitle to receive maintenance (usually the house wife and the children) has not been paid the sum concerned or has been paid a sum insufficient for the party's station in life, he or she may apply to the court for an order compelling the party under the duty provide the maintenance (usually the husband) to perform the duty. The amount of maintenance is considered by the court with due regard to the ability of the party who has the duty to provide it and the station in life of the receiver or the circumstances of the case.
Maintenance may be paid by periodical payment in pecuniary or other forms according to the agreement of both parties.
Any maintenance order made by the court may be modified, cancelled, increased or reduced if the circumstances have changed since the original order.
It is usually the case that the husband obeys the court order (in providing maintenance to his divorced wife and children) for the first few months but then discontinues.
Husbands who honestly comply with the maintenance order are very rare. The poor wives always turn to the Women Lawyers Association for help. Under the new Family Court Procedure Act B.E. 2534 article 114 the Family Court has authority to compel the employer of the husband to pay the maintenance due to the wife out of the husband's earning directly to the wife. Unfortunately, for the time being there are only 10 Family Courts in big cities such as Bangkok, Chaing Mai, Songkhla, Nakhon Rathasima, Ubon Ratchathani, Rayong etc. and there are 19 Provincial Courts such as Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya etc. which has Family section to enforce the Family Court Procedure Act. It is hope that the well being of women and children will be more protected if this law can be enforced through the whole kingdom.
(32) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1480.
(33) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1482.
(34) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1490.
(35) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1533.
(36) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1535.
(37) Civil and Commercial Code, Article 1461.