Mediation in Thailand
Mediation is not new in Thailand and has been used in both labor negotiations as well as during divorce process in order to settle issues where the parties prefer mediation to litigation. With mediation in Thailand it is easier to settle issues where litigation involves litigation and is far costlier than simply deciding on a negotiated settlement and add this to the divorce agreement.
Divorce in Thailand
The most common issues during divorce in Thailand tends to be about property, child custody as well as child maintenance or child alimony. These can normally be settled out of court if there are property protections in place. The most common is if there is a usufruct registered over the property registered against the title deed in Thailand in your name. This would allow you to live in the property for 30 years since the date of signing the usufruct. Since nobody will buy the house with a non-paying tenant in it, it would be impossible to sell the property. This is normally a leverage point during a divorce as you can offer the usufruct in favor of another benefit which you wish to obtain. The very same goes for a superficies where you Thai wife owns the land but you own the house on the land. Without these it would be very difficult to have leverage in settle major property disputes. You will need to talk to a divorce lawyer in Thailand about these matters.
Child maintenance is another issue which is common during a divorce. This normally revolves around how much to be paid each month as well as how this gets done. Normally if the foreigner is going back home he would agree to open another bank account at home and his ex-wife can draw the money in Thailand each month at the ATM machine. This is rather common during a divorce and more favoured than an annual lump sum payment which may or may not come. Trust at this point in time is normally very low.
Child custody is another problem which can end in one parent abducting their own child and taking them back to their home country. This however rarely occurs in Thailand but normally get done by the Thai mother while in the West. These ones do make the news in Thailand as they tend to be complex and difficult. Mediation is normally done to find the middle ground with the least amount of costs wasted on litigation. It does not always settle the issues however it is well worth a try and it also allows minor issues to be settled outside of court. You might decide that when the children turn 14 that they will be allowed to travel to the west once a year.
Always speak to a family lawyer in Thailand about this and how best to settle the divorce with the least amount of cost and time. Mediation is an option which does gets used more often in Thailand but as stated it does not always settle the outstanding disputes but it is an option one the less.