OK! What does this have to do with Thai divorce? I had waited from June 2002 until November 2003 before taking any action regarding a divorce. I had tried to convince the wife, through my son and emails, to return to me in Thailand. Her demands - pure and simple - was ‘greed’. She wanted ‘everything’ I had - MONEY. And, I was not going to give into her demands so ‘she’ decided that she would get a divorce in the USA. During our 35 year marriage I gave her 3 houses (equity), several cars, started her business, made every mortgage payment, bill payment, etc. She ‘paid for nothing’! She had 20 baht when we married!
In November 2002 I retained a Thai lawyer for the purpose of obtaining a divorce from my Thai wife. In response to the lawyers questions - The wife has been in the USA since June 2002 - Do you no where she is? Yes - (‘No you don’t - You do not know where your wife is’). To make a long story short - The Thai lawyer ‘decided’ what my answers would be. On the second visit, all the paperwork was completed and would be filed next week (November 22 - 26) at ‘Her district Ampur (Office)’. His fee, payable in advance - With my prepared ‘retainer agreement’ was 10,000 Baht.
About the 2nd week of December, not receiving any reply from the lawyer, I decided to contact him. ‘Oh, so sorry, the papers have not been filed yet, But I will file them today. (I am thinking - another Scam!). About 2 hours later I get a phone call - ‘I need to come to your house to get your signature’. I sign the papers and the lawyer informs me that the paper will be filed today.
On March 3rd I call the lawyer to confirm the 9 March date - Oh! Sorry - the court date has been changed to 4 April (the ‘date’ before my Wedding Anniversary - the 5th)! I am beginning to think that I am ‘being cursed’. Or, as previously stated - Scammed.
I decided to ask around the ‘local court’ about this lawyer I have. ‘He is the ‘best’ - from several court employees and other lawyers.
On 29 March I again call my lawyer. Yes - the court hearing is on the 4th of April - But call me on the 3rd.
On 3 April - ‘Lawyer - I will have an ‘interpreter’ with me at the court hearing. I will meet you at the court at 1 PM.
4 April, 1 PM - Where is the lawyer? I Call - I am coming! The lawyer finally shows up. Wait here he tells me. The ‘interpreter’ I learn is a police sergeant major who originally worked in Chiang Mai. He speaks ‘very good’ English - But - as always - ‘I have a business venture that you or your friends might be interested in!’ I am polite - so I listen.
The lawyer finally returns - 3 PM - (I am guessing that he had to find a ‘judge’ that was available and would hear the case). The lawyer proceeds to ‘tell me’ What I will say in front of the judge. Although everything I would eventually say was ‘factual’, many of the time-frames were not accurate or timely. Oh well! I tell myself that when asked I could always say that I ‘misunderstood’ the question.
The court hearing was held at 3:30 PM, 4 April. All the questions that the lawyer asked me, the judge asked again. My answers were not forthcoming in a ‘speedy manner’ But that was OK - The ‘interpreter’ did a great job ‘reading my mind’. An hour later the hearing is over. The lawyer tells me that I will have to wait a week for the judges decision.
I call the lawyer a week later and he has all the court papers and that I can pick them up from him. After picking up the papers I ask the lawyer if there is anything else I need to do. He tells me to take the papers to the ‘District office’ (Ampur) to obtain the ‘Divorce Certificate’. If you have any problem I will talk to them. I give him another 10,000 Baht - Gift.
Off to the Ampur I go. I hand them the court papers - and 15 minutes later I have my ‘Divorce Certificate’ in hand. The ‘former wife’ will get her copy when or if she returns to Thailand. I did email a copy to my son in the USA. I tell the clerk - ‘This has been a very costly 35 year old peace of paper’. What did I give up - The house I built in Thailand (400,000 Baht - Cheap) and a car which she had already sold and I received nothing from the sale.
Stick: The 20,000 Baht that I paid was well worth the money. If I had waited for the ‘wife’ to find a lawyer in the USA and she was to have filed in the USA, it would have cost me ‘my arm and 2 legs’. The lawyer I had was not very efficient But my ‘prodding’ eventually got every moving. Talking with numerous people I did learn that the Lawyer is well respected and is good in front of a judge - He just does not appear to have any ‘business sense’.