A marriage in Thailand is a ceremony that is legally binding between two people. It is a special event that requires a lot of preparation. This is particularly true for foreign couples, who need to be familiar with Thai legalities and procedures, before deciding to marry in Thailand.
As a result, it is important to seek a local lawyer to ensure your marriage carries weight in Thailand and that you are properly represented. It is also advisable to take a pre-marital health checkup, as this can detect hereditary defects and fertility problems.
Firstly, it is necessary to obtain an affirmation of freedom to marry from your home country’s embassy in Thailand. This is a document that should be typed out and signed in the presence of a consular official from your embassy. It must then be translated into Thai and taken to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs for legalization.
Once the translation is completed, you should then bring your ‘Affirmation of Freedom to Marry’ document to your local embassy in Thailand for verification and issuance of your visa. This should be done no more than four days before your wedding date, as it can take some time for the documentation to be processed and the ceremony to be held in Thailand.
After your marriage has been registered, you will receive a copy of your marriage certificate from the registrar in Thailand. This is valid and recognized in many countries worldwide. It is also possible to get a certified translation of your certificate for use in your home country.
In Thai society, marriage is an important stage in a woman’s life-course and enables her to gain access to enforceable social rights and tangible capital assets. It enhances her individual autonomy, increases her opportunities to earn more and offers her a degree of protection from family pressures.
However, marriage in Thailand carries considerable personal costs and disadvantages for women who have limited options available to them in the Thai marriage market. They have to be extremely careful about their choice of partner, as they might be stuck in a situation that is unproductive and exploitative.
For example, single women in early mid-life face a very limited range of choices, while divorced and married women with children have even fewer chances to find a’suitable’ partner (Jongwilaiwan and Thomson 2013). The latter often experience abuse and violence by their partners or family members.
The aforementioned difficulties have prompted many Thai women to pursue marriages with men from Western countries. These partnerships have become a significant part of Thai women’s aspirations to obtain a better standard of living and greater social mobility.
Typically, women enter into a partnership with a man who is willing to provide a certain amount of material support and sporadic ‘gifts’ in exchange for their ’emotional labour’. This may be based on a combination of his desire for her ‘complementary intimacy’, and the potential that her financial resources could help him to become more successful and financially independent.