Agreements Between Husband and Wife in Thailand Can Be Cancelled (See category ASK DREW NOYES for more legal articles)
A question about Andrew Drummond's claim that a 30-year lease was illegally cancelled by a Thai wife was asked in the column Ask Drew Noyes and published in Pattaya Times Newspaper September 1, 2011.. It is important for foreigners to know a Thai spouse can cancel any agreement with the other spouse while married or for a year after divorced so don't sign leases on property or other agreements with your Thai spouse without seeing us at PAPPA Co., ltd. Law first. The original letter to "ASk drew Noyes" from the real Mangus Evans: Dear Mr. Noyes, I read a blog post someone forwarded to me and I thought it was a joke. But my friend said, “No, it’s serious.” It’s by a guy named Andrew Drummond and is called, “Farmer Joe loses water-tight 30-year lease in Thailand.” It is a miserable account of how a Brit was cheated by his wife and lawyer. It is so bad, the guy Drummond claims the British officials are coming here to Thailand just to investigate how Thailand is unjust to foreigners here as evidenced by the cheating of a British citizen in Thailand. Andrew Drummond also says the guy should get half of the property and none of the debt when he divorces his wife, but, even to me as a hotel manager, that does not seem correct. Can you shed some light on the truth? Thank you and I always read your column first. Mangus Evans Scotland/Jomtien
Answer about Andrew Drummond's article in the Ask Drew Noyes column September 1, 2011
Agreements between Husband & Wife/ Divorce/Andrew Drummond
Note" Any agreement concluded between husband and wife during marriage by be avoided by either of them at any time during marriage or within one year....." (See below)
With some reservations, I read the blog article you are referring to in your letter to me. Blogs bore me. “Blogging” is popular with kids, but most adults prefer forums and news websites, but I see why the catchy headline “Farmer Joe loses water-tight 30-year lease in Thailand” got your attention.
The short answer to your inquiry according to our Thai lawyer is it is not a serious or even true article. He says it is misguided, false and probably is just there to make Thailand look bad and show that the “British are coming” to right the wrongs of Thailand. Under Thai law the wife can cancel the lease. Period. Married to a Thai or a foreigner, she can cancel any written agreement between them. The husband has the same right to cancel a written agreement with his wife.
And a social worker will come from the UK to investigate this case? Bull! No one is coming, certainly not the British officials Drummond claims, because the article is just not true! Even if it was true, not even the British Embassy in Bangkok could do anything. What could a government social worker from Essex, England do about a dispute between husband and wife in Thailand?
It is important to know the source before you believe anything, especially on an unedited, one-man blog. If you can find a positive thing ever posted on that silly blog by Andrew Drummond I’d love to see it to believe it.
This article at first glance seems interesting because it is about an all-too-familiar story about a foreigner who falls in love with a Thai, marries her, the love ends and he gets the short end of the stick.
Since 1998 our firm PAPPA Co., Ltd. has had more than 4,500 clients and given free advice to more than 20,000 foreigners in one-on-one consultations and large seminars like the last Thai Law Seminar at Pattaya City Hall conducted by sitting Chonburi court judges which I organized and moderated.
Most of our legal cases have involved Thai divorce, getting property back from Thai girlfriends, making real estate and business contracts, setting up Thai companies and preparing Last Will and Testaments for foreigners. So we have a tremendous amount of experience in dealing with Thais on behalf of our English-speaking clients.
Back to your questions. The fact is the turkey farmer in Drummond’s fable has troubles because he did not use a good lawyer to protect himself in ADVANCE of the often ultimate divorce. More than Eighty percent of all marriages between westerners and Thais end. So protect yourself beforehand.
Also, the headline is false. “Farmer Joe loses water-tight 30-year lease in Thailand.” Farmer Joe lost his 30-year lease because he did not have – as Drummond falsely claims - a “water-tight’ lease with his wife.
It doses not matter that Farmer Joe is a foreigner, it only matters that he was legally married to the property owner when he made the lease. Even if Farmer Joe was a Thai man, his 30-Year Lease could also have been cancelled by his Thai wife or, for that matter, his foreigner wife in Thailand! Thai law is equal for Thais and foreigners under Civil Law with regards to leases of any type for any length of time.
Our lawyer explains, "As set forth in The Thailand Civil and Commercial Code on Page 292, Book V (Family), Chapter IV (Property of Husband and Wife) Section 1469 as translated by Professor Kamol Sandhikshetrin, LL.B.,M.A. whereby the statute reads : “Any agreement concluded between husband and wife during marriage by be avoided by either of them at any time during marriage or within one year from the day of dissolution of marriage; provided that the rights of third persons acting in good faith are not affected thereby.”
Therefore, unfortunately, Farmer Joe’s wife was within her legal rights to cancel the lease which was an agreement she had with her husband.
Just so you know there are many ways within the law for a foreigner married to a Thai to obtain a 30-year lease on property, even property owned by the wife, provided extra provisions are put in place by a competent lawyer for the foreigner. There is a legal way to do almost anything in Thailand if you know how!
If you cannot read Thai then do not sign any document unless you have it properly translated, or only sign a document written in a language you can read. Any agreement written in Thailand can be written in any language and is considered legal. However, all documents understandably must be translated into proper written Thai language for submission to any Thai court or police department.
It seems Andrew Drummond has no knowledge of Thai law. He wrote on his blog, “The courts have yet to look at the fact that even under Thai divorce laws he is entitled to 50 per cent, but worse, it seems, the land on which he built his house, could be still taken from him, because his wife built up a debt on a car in his name on which, he says, she refused to keep up payments, and the company has a lien on the land.”
The fact is what Drummond says is just not true. He should have paid more attention to the recent Thai Law Seminar for Foreigners he claims he attended in Pattaya.
Our lawyers explain in a court-ordered divorce settlement in Thailand there are two criteria for dividing assets. The first is, “What belongs to the man before marriage is his and is not divided; what belongs to the woman before marriage is not divided.”
The second criteria for deciding who gets what is, according to our lawyers “What is obtained during the length of a registered marriage is divided as assets minus liabilities equal what is divided. The debts of the turkey farmer and debts of his wife as well as the assets he bought are divided, regardless of who earned the assets during the marriage or who created the debt. The land bought with his money before the marriage is all his and the land bought with profits from turkey farming is equally divided, less debts incurred by both parties during marriage.”
Andrew Drummond also writes on his blog (BTW, my 12-year-old has a blog, too and she says it’s cool to write stuff someone else might read!): “This story could suspend one’s belief so much so that even social workers from Redbridge Council in Essex want to check it out. And to do so, while Britain seems to be plummeting into a double-dip recession, they say they have announced that they are sending over a case officer to investigate.”
Well, we contacted the Redbridge Council in Essex and they are not planning to send any social workers to Thailand.
I would tell Andrew Drummond to stick to writing the truth instead of confusing people with things he makes up, but I would not want to encourage him to publish anything else on his sensational blog. For general knowledge, stick to the main sites with fluid, moving forums, not sensational, negative one-man blogs by unemployed guys with a computer.
For the facts about Thai law make a free appointment and come see us at PAPPA Co., Ltd. Law Office - http://pappa.co.th/- and we will help keep you out of trouble. We are also good at getting you out of trouble as Drummond knows all too well.
In Thailand it is all about who you know and what you know.
Enjoy your life in the magic kingdom!
PAPPA Co., Ltd. Law Office
448/21 Moo 12
Karn Keha Tower 1
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