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Is it legal to have more than one wife in Thailand?

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Marriage Registration in Thailand

Marriage in Thailand is governed by the Civil and Commercial Code book 5. For a marriage to be considered legal, both parties must be at least 18 years old and publicly declare their agreement to take each other as husband and wife before the Registrar. This agreement must be recorded by the Registrar at an Amphur office in Thailand to complete the marriage registration process.

Pre-Marriage ‘Engagement’

Before formal marriage registration, there is a pre-marriage stage known as betrothal. Betrothal is not official until khongman is given by the man to his fiancee, along with possible sinsod to the fiancee’s parents. An official engagement in Thailand comes with certain duties and responsibilities, such as compensation in case of breach of the betrothal agreement.

Legal Recognitions of Marriage

Only marriages officially registered with the government are recognized as legal and valid in Thailand. De-facto informal marriages, common-law marriages, or religious ceremonies do not create any legal rights, duties, or responsibilities of husband and wife under Thai law.

Same-Sex Marriages

Thai marriage laws do not allow for same-sex marriages. Only opposite-sex couples are eligible to marry and have their marriage recorded in the official registers.

Bigamy in Thailand

Marrying one person while still legally married to another, known as bigamy, is not permitted in Thailand. It is considered a criminal offense under the Thailand penal code to knowingly make a false declaration in marriage matters.

Foreign National and Marriage in Thailand

Foreigners looking to marry in Thailand must prepare official documents before registering their marriage. Embassy websites contain relevant information on Thai marriage procedures and how to obtain the necessary documents. If a Thai fiancée has recently ended a previous marriage, a doctor’s certificate stating non-pregnancy may be required.

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