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Barnabe

Prenups in Thailand and abroad

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Posted (edited)

I'm thinking about getting married with my girlfriend, but would like to protect my assets abroad.

 

The plan is to get married and live in Thailand long term, but almost all of my assets will be in the UK and in another European country. We are also planning to have children eventually.

 

I will own minimal assets here as I don't work in Thailand, and not planning to do so. Of course I will have a car, motorbike, general money for living costs, maybe even buy a condo, etc, but nothing comparable to the assets I have abroad, and I will consider those lost anyway if something happens.

 

According to UK law, prenups are not enforceable over there, but they are considered in court. In the other European countries, they are enforced by law.

 

This brings up a few questions:

a) how valid is the Thai prenup in the UK and Europe if we have an acrimonious divorce and she decides to go after my assets abroad?

b) is there a legal firm you can recommend so that I can contact them?

Edited by Barnabe

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I think many Thais sign prenups also when they marry.  I am no expert but I think if you sign a prenup in Thailand all your assets before marriage are yours. But assets after you marry are shared assets. This is only if you register the marriage in Thailand. If you dont register the marriage in Thailand its not considered a marriage and the wife cannot have any claim on your assets in Thailand. So if you have not registered the marriage in Thailand then I dont think anybody can make a claim on your assets out of Thailand. When they cannot make a claim on the assets in Thailand if the marriage is not registered in Thailand then will be impossible to make a claim on assets abroad. But pls find a lawyer to be sure anyways. If you want to be sure get your marriage registered in Thailand and dont buy any assets here unless you have children and are sure of the long term durability of your marriage and family. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Barnabe said:

I'm thinking about getting married with my girlfriend, but would like to protect my assets abroad.

have you actually talked to your girlfriend about getting a prenup? if so, how did it go?

does your girlfriend know about all your assets in the UK?

Does she want to become a UK citizen?

How successful are UK women at getting a prenup made invalid during a divorce? 

Edited by NCC1701A
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Posted (edited)

My girlfriend knows that I have assets in the UK, not has no idea of how much or where, and I don't intend to reveal that information as she doesn't need it.

 

I have a UK passport and a EU one, and I believe she would prefer to take the EU passport. Actually Thai nationals can only have one passport at a time, and I don't think she will abdicate the Thai one, so she would be holding a foreign passport illegally. In any case, we will not be moving away from Thailand and to Europe unless there are some extreme circumstances (war, etc).

 

We've spoken about a prenup and she seems fine with it. She's a "good girl" and I would never see her do something like that, provided that I treated her fairly after the divorce, but why take the chances right?

 

Any thoughts on a recommended law firm?

Edited by Barnabe

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On 8/23/2019 at 10:09 AM, Barnabe said:

Actually Thai nationals can only have one passport at a time

 

Thai citizens can hold citizenship of other countries and as such can hold multiple passports. Thailand does not disallow multiple nationality. Many Thai citizens are dual nationals.

 

On 8/22/2019 at 7:30 PM, Barnabe said:

a) how valid is the Thai prenup in the UK and Europe if we have an acrimonious divorce and she decides to go after my assets abroad?

 

It's not going to do much for you in the UK, especially if you have children. You would have to establish the law in each European country to find out more.

 

On 8/22/2019 at 7:30 PM, Barnabe said:

b) is there a legal firm you can recommend so that I can contact them?

 

Give Ben at Integrity Legal a call:

 

https://www.legal.co.th/

 

The main point is do you need a formal marriage which is officially registered with a marriage certificate? Do you actually need the piece of paper, for example, to gain permission to stay in Thailand?

 

If you don't the easiest option is to have the complete ceremony, but don't sign the marriage documentation. As far as Thailand law goes, you would not be married and your partner would have zero claim on your assets, even if you lived together for 20 years.

 

Many Thai people get married this way.

 

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2 hours ago, blackcab said:

The main point is do you need a formal marriage which is officially registered with a marriage certificate? Do you actually need the piece of paper, for example, to gain permission to stay in Thailand?

 

Unfortunately yes, I do. I have no legal right to reside in Thailand, since I am not working here. I tend to stay away a month or two at a time, but as we all know they are starting to crack down on that too.

 

Thank you for your help. I will contact the lawyer you suggested.

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Marrying officially for the purpose of the extension of stay is not an optimal choice. In the end, the Elite visa may be a much smarter choice.

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20 hours ago, timendres said:

Marrying officially for the purpose of the extension of stay is not an optimal choice. In the end, the Elite visa may be a much smarter choice.

I echo this - the elite visa option is far less expensive if a divorce ever occurs especially if your girl ever gets access to the UK or EU courts.  All she has to do is visit one of these, show your child and file and she would unload a world of hurt on you.  There are many Thai friends who will provide her very specific legal advice on how to do this so be mindful.  Remember marriage in her eyes is a business transaction and going after assets is just something any business person would do.  Now it may be more difficult than what I outlined as I am not familiar with EU/UK law but these laws also can and do change.  You don't know how easy it will be for her to go to the UK to divorce ... in ten years ... you only know now and the laws just get worse for men not better.

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On 8/22/2019 at 2:30 PM, Barnabe said:

This brings up a few questions:

a) how valid is the Thai prenup in the UK and Europe if we have an acrimonious divorce and she decides to go after my assets abroad?

b) is there a legal firm you can recommend so that I can contact them?

A friend of mine made a prenup before marriage to a Thai. It was made in his homeland, where he got assets and family (children from earlier marriage) to protect, and it was written in both his homeland language and Thai language. It was read in Thai to his wife upon signing to make sure that she understod clearly what she was signing.

 

Even that Thai Law separate individual property before marriage, and common property during marriage, a prenup is wise to make, and then it also specify the assets.

 

Like a last will, you should do two prenups; both in UK, for your European assets, and in Thailand, for your Thai assets. I would suggest to mention in both prenups, that another prenup has been made for assets abroad, i.e. in the European mention the Thai prenup exist for Thai property, and in the Thai prenup mention that all assets abroad are covered by a UK prenup.

 

Getting married you should also consider Last Will at the same time as prenup, and again it's recommended (book source: Thai Law for Foreigners) to make two wills, one for assets abroad, and one for assets in Thailand. You can include eventual children here, without specific details, but you might wish to protect children with "separate property" in case of later marriage.

 

When I made my last will, which included "separate property" for my half-Thai child (and eventually other children), I added »and whatever that may replace the Separate Property«, as some assets mentioned could be sold and replaced by another assets, but still being the value from the first mentioned "separate property". Might be worth to consider, and discuss with a lawyer for implementation in both prenup, and eventually last will.

 

There are numerous English speaking Thai law firms specializing in foreigners and family issues, try a Google-search, and look for some that is convenient for a personal meeting; often first session is free, so you can check more than one law firm for details, and quotation.

 

 

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If you marry your girlfriend you have nothing to worry about in the UK, unless she obtains residence status in the UK. You do not register a marriage in the UK, but it is recognised as a marriage. I am legally married in Thailand to my Thai wife. She will get all my assets in Thailand when I pass away, Thai law will apply should we divorce before. In the UK, all you need to do is make a separate will, detailing where and to whom your assets will go. Make a statement at the end stating that arrangements for your Thai wife will apply in a separate will in Thailand, job done. This was done based on legal advice.

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Not sure about Pre Nup

But

What I do know is that a properly executed and recorded marriage of an American to a Thai will be recognized in U S Courts.

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