What are the rights the proposed Civil Partnership Bill grants to same sex couples in Thailand?

At the end of 2018, a long-awaited LGBT civil union bill was approved by the Cabinet and is currently pending legislation by the National Legislative Assembly. The Bill is known as the Life Partnership Registration Act (LPRA).

According to our review, the Bill upholds same sex civil partnerships as equal to the typical provisions of Thai Civil and Commercial Code (CCC) regarding family and succession.

In this article, we will answer the most common questions that have been addressed to us so far.

Who is eligible for a civil partnership?

In order to comply with civil partnership registration regulations, a life partner must be one with the same biological sex as the other life partner and at least one of the partners must be a Thai national. Therefore, if both partners are foreigners, the civil partnership cannot be registered in Thailand.
Both life partners must be at least of 20 years legal age and no exception is given for the underaged partner who has their parents’ or guardian’s consent.

What is the legal process required?

For legitimacy, official registration in the presence of a state officer and witnesses is required. The capability of each partner is a condition of the registration. Duplicated civil partnerships are not allowed, unless the former civil partnership is annulled or otherwise terminated.

However, competent authority and formality still awaits subordinate legislation which will be issued soon after the Bill comes into force. So far, it is assumed registration will be endorsed at the district office or Thai embassy. Similar paperwork is expected in case the other life partner is a foreigner, for instance, the legalized registry of single status issued by that partner’s country of origin.

How to end a civil partnership?

The civil partnership can be ended through death, uncontested divorce, divorce suit, or annulment petition between the life partners. The same grounds and consequences regarding marriage covered by the CCC apply to civil partnership.

How to deal with the civil partnership property and earnings?

Given the requirement that at least one of the partners must have Thai nationality, the law mostly benefits those living in Thailand and whose property is located within Thai jurisdiction. As such, if you and your Thai partner do not intend to make a living in Thailand, civil partnership or marriage under another state’s jurisdiction may be a better option.

The LPRA recognizes marital property as half of the earnings and/or the co-ownership of property acquired after successful civil partnership registration. The partners are required to provide and support each other in terms of household and financial needs in the ordinary course of family living. The contribution made by each partner depends on his or her economic status and ability to provide.

A prenuptial agreement can be otherwise agreed and endorsed upon the civil partnership registration to clarify proportionate ownership of earnings and/or property acquired thereafter, as opposed to those acquired before the civil partnership registration which shall be deemed as the personal property of the partner. It is not required to share personal property equally between partners, except for the fruits thereof, unless those are restricted by the prenuptial agreement.

How does the civil partnership affect the inheritance?

Property inherited by one partner upon the death of his/her predecessor or testator during the civil partnership shall always be the personal property of such partner, unless otherwise stated in the last will.

On the other hand, the partner is not allowed to cause his/her last will against the other partner’s share in the marital property. Simply speaking, the partner may cause the last will against his/her entitled half of the marital property or against the proportion agreed upon in the prenuptial agreement. In reality, a concurrently and separate last will for each partner is highly recommended for ease of enforceability.

Upon the death of one partner without a last will, the other partner shall be deemed as the statutory heir to inherit the deceased’s personal estate and marital estate of such part. For the personal estate of deceased partner, the living partner shall be entitled alongsidethe deceased’s immediate family members to be statutory heirs.

Is the couple child adoption allowed?

Unfortunately, we find no supportive provision in the LPRA. However, individual adoption may be an alternative, provided that the child’s custody shall vest in and be exercisable by the sole adopter. In reality, complex formalities and comprehensive interview sessions conducted by the relevant authorities should be expected.

Would the alimony claim be practical?

Yes, the defaulting partner can be sued to compensate the honest partner according to the same grounds and consequences as those concerning marriage under the CCC. For instance, failure to provide financial support to the other party or adultery will make a valid case. Of course, the claim is allowed only if the civil partnership is properly registered, as mentioned under the LPRA provisions.

The Bill is still seeking final decision from the yet-to-be-decided government. If approved, the Bill will give to same sex partners the same property, inheritance, and succession rights as married couples under the CCC.

We will monitor the development of the Bill and provide you with updates when these become available.

Contacts

We hope that the information provided was helpful to you. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will make sure that your question will be brought to the right person’s attention and we will deliver a prompt response.

Disclaimers

The above information is intended to highlight an overview of key issues for ease of understanding and cannot substitute a personal consultation with a qualified lawyer. We highly advise you to read this article in conjunction with appropriate advice from your legal counsel to determine the legal implications this article might have on your business and how to mitigate exposures as much as possible.

Despite applying due care when selecting and producing the information published on this newsletter, we accept no liability in case such information is not accurate, up-to-date or complete.
Under no circumstances shall any company of the Antares Group or any of its directors, partners, lawyers or any other professionals be liable for any direct or indirect, incidental or consequential loss or damage that results from the use of or the reliance upon the information provided.

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