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ResourcesFamily LawPrenuptial Agreements for Thai-American Marriages

Prenuptial Agreements for Thai-American Marriages

Prenuptial Agreements for Thai Fiancees and Spouses of United States Citizens


Each year a number of Americans marry Thai nationals. Concurrently, there are a large number of Americans who bring a Thai fiancée to the USA on a K-1 visa. In any event, the issue of prenuptial agreements sometimes arises as parties often wish to ensure transparency in matters pertaining to the marital estate and make provisions in the event of divorce. In many cases, where one party is entering into their second marriage the issues surrounding prenuptial agreements may arise as a result of that party’s recent experience dealing with the negative consequences resulting from the lack of such an agreement.

Generally, speaking a prenuptial agreement (or “prenup”) can be drafted based upon the specific details inherent to a given case. That being said, there are certain things that a prenuptial agreement cannot do. One of the most important restrictions regarding prenuptial agreements pertains to prospective children. A prenup cannot be drafted to make specific rules regarding the care, treatment, and provisioning for children. Courts view these matters as within their bailiwick and upon a bit of thought it is a logical assertion that parties cannot make binding agreements regarding their children as the children are not party to the agreement.

Another factor to consider when drafting a prenuptial agreement is whether or not the Thai fiancée will be traveling to the USA to marry their American counter part or whether the couple will marry in Thailand. If the couple intends to marry in Thailand then the rules relating to premarital agreements in Thailand dictate that the agreement must be signed and registered simultaneously with the marriage when the couple registers their marriage at a Thai Civil registrar (also known as a Khet office in Bangkok, or an Amphur office outside the city). Failure to register the prenuptial agreement at the time of the marriage could result in a future Court refusing to recognize the existence of a prenuptial agreement. In the American legal system, this formality is not nearly as important most notably because the United States does not utilize a civil registrar system as is used in Thailand.

Finally, it is important to be cognizant of the fact that a post-nuptial agreement is a radically different instrument compared to a prenuptial agreement. The marriage itself is considered to be the consideration for the prenuptial agreement whereas in a post-nuptial agreement this is self-evidently not the case. Furthermore, the provisions of a post-nuptial agreement may not be able to overcome relevant provisions of Family law. Conversely, notwithstanding relevant statutory provisions a prenuptial agreement may have terms which operate in spite of such provisions.

With respect to prenuptial agreement drafting it is prudent to retain the services of a licensed competent legal professional or firm of professionals in order to have a validly enforceable agreement drafted in order to assure oneself of the utmost legal protection in the event of marital dissolution.