Friday, September 13, 2013

Public Opinion Same Sex Marriage in Thailand

As we discussed recently, Thailand has been hitting worldwide headlines thanks to speculation it will be the first Asian country to legalize same sex marriage.

When the story first broke, we sought the opinions of some Thai people, many of whom had not heard the rumours, but those who had were doubtful the that same sex marriage in Thailand would ever be legalized because predominantly it remained a very conservative society.

We were intrigued to follow up on this opinion, so we took to the streets of Bangkok and asked a mixture of Thais and foreigners their thoughts. Reactions were encouraging, with all saying same gay marriage should be legalized in Thailand. Nearly all of the foreigners explained they believed Thailand to be a very open society, and saw no problem with gay marriage becoming the law here. One Russian man we spoke too agreed that Thailand was still quiet a conservative society which could be an issue, and this was echoed by most of the Thai public that we spoke too. 

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Friday, September 6, 2013

More Americans Giving Up Their Passports

It has been reported by CNN Money that an increasing amount of American citizens are giving up their passports thanks firstly to a new disclosure law and secondly many Americans living abroad are said to have grown tired at the cumbersome tax filing procedures.

America requires all of its citizens to pay income tax, regardless of where it was earned and whether that person lives in the US.

The U.S. is  preparing to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a new law that requires foreign institutions to report all assets owned by Americans.
The objective of the measure is to recoup some of the hundreds of billions the government claims to lose each year in unpaid taxes. Individuals with overseas assets are also required to file additional forms.
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Red Bull Heir Arrest

A human rights lawyer and former senator has criticized legal authorities for acting dishonestly in the red bull hit-and-run case reports the Bangkok Post

The heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune is facing an arrest warrant after failing to report to prosecutors on 6 separate occasions to hear indictments against him for a traffic incident in 2012 which killed a police officer.

Thailand Criminal Defense Lawyer 

Chaninat and Leeds specialize in criminal defense law in Thailand 

Mr Vorayudh is presently in Singapore, and his lawyers said he was too sick to attend Monday's hearing. However Mr Warin said Mr Vorayudh could go into hiding overseas and wait until the statute of limitations in the case expires in 15 years. He would then be free to return to Thailand. 

Prosecutors said on Monday they were intending send a letter to notify the police about their decision to issue an arrest warrant for Mr Vorayudh. Once the arrest warrant is out, the police may then be able to arrange to have him extradited to Thailand.

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Fugitives in Thailand

Flickr photo credit: viZZZual 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Risks of Buying A Condo In Thailand

There are many reasons why expatriates end up living in Thailand – be it placement by their companies, retirement, or simply feeling Thailand offers a better quality of life than their home country.

Buying a condo (apartment) in Thailand is an attractive option for many foreigners predominantly because there are less nationality restrictions with Thailand condominium laws than with land ownership.

Thailand real estate laws do not provide as many consumer protections as with most western jurisdictions. Thailand is very much a "Buyer Beware" jurisdiction. For example, in Thailand, real estate agents are not licensed and title insurance is not commonly used.

There are many skeletons of unfinished constructions in Bangkok. One of the most famous ones is on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, which was left unfurnished after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.  

Stories about property fraud, scams and inequitable property agreements are more frequent. A few years ago on Koh Samui. Government investigations into land companies on the island revealed that thousands of plots of land had been illegally issued title deeds. Deeds for measurements of land exceeded the amount of land on the entire island, and encroachment and development of state-protected reserves was revealed.

Less dramatic cases of real estate misrepresentation and fraud can involve foreign clients discovering that their purchased property lacked promised (and paid for) amenities, including water pipes and sanitation systems. 

If you are thinking about buying “off plan” i.e. a condo that has not yet been built then again think very carefully. Although you are more likely to secure a better price, such purchases carry far greater risk

Therefore if you are looking to buy a condo in Thailand, you would be well advised to seek legal advice from a qualified Thailand real estate attorney. A thorough due diligence by a qualified attorney offers potential purchasers a good measure of protection from real estate fraud and misrepresentation.

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Thailand’s Condominium Bubble a Reality or MythThailand Real Estate Overview

Top 10 Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces

It was announced last week that Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have decided to separate after more than 10 years of marriage. If they decide to make things more permanent and divorce, it could be the most expensive divorce in history.

Celebrity divorces tend to be more expensive and complicated than "normal" divorces due to the amount of size of assets and wealth involved.

Thailand Divorce Attorney 

Chaninat and Leeds are specialist divorce attorneys 

Bold sky have this week compiled a list of the most expensive divorces in history. Rupert and Anna Murdoch so far top the list.

Although litigation can be an unpredictable process and the laws of different countries may vary, an individual with significant assets, or even an individual who is merely careful about his/her financial future, may find it beneficial to have a prenuptial agreement. In the event of a divorce, a prenuptial agreement can assist with dividing the marital assets. Thailand prenuptial agreements differ from western prenuptial agreements in that they are null and invalid unless they are registered before the marriage. 

Read the whole list here 

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Prenuptial Agreements: US Law, Thailand Law and EU Law ComparedInternational Prenuptial Agreements: Conflicts of Law in the United StatesEuropean Prenuptial Agreements and the Hague ConventionPrenuptial Agreements in Japan - the Devil’s in the Details

Flickr photo credit: david_shankbone 

Gay Marriage in Thailand

There has been much in the press the last few months reporting that gay marriage in Thailand is due to be legalized making it the first country in Asia to do so.

In fact just last week an article was published confirming that 4000 public signatures had been collected in support of its legalization. In Thailand, 10,000 public signatures are required to get a parliamentary reading of the draft bill.
Thailand Marriage Lawyers 
Chaninat and Leeds specialize in marriage law in Thailand 
However it is important to appreciate that the petition has been ongoing since 2012, and still does not have half of the required signatures.

Although Thailand is a very accepting country not least with the large transgender community, most Thais are conservative at heart and proposals to allow same sex marriage in Thailand would be the ultimate test of their tolerance.

Indeed when we asked some the Thai general public, most hadn't heard about the proposal, and those who had said it was not being widely reported by the Thai media and didn't believe it would ever become a reality.

Whilst we are very much in favor of the draft bill, we feel it is important to present the reality of what is known in Thailand.

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Flickr photo credit: teamstickergiant

1.8 Million Pound Divorce Settlement Set Aside

Courts in the UK have set aside a 1.8 million pound settlement agreement, after it was discovered the husband had not made full financial disclosure about all of his personal assets. 

The couple cannot be named, but the judge has told the husband he may now have to pay more after a judge ruled that couples have a duty to be honest with each other when making such deals reports The Telegraph
Thailand Divorce Lawyers 
Chaninat and Leeds specialize in divorce law in Thailand 
The Court heard that the businessman had shares worth up to £740,000 in one company which had a £50 million turnover but that he had told his wife the company was not trading and therefore had a ‘nil value.’

When couples divorce in Thailand, separate property, namely assets and property acquired before marriage, generally remains the property of the owner. Assets and property acquired during marriage are commonly considered community property with both spouses having ownership rights.  

Read the whole article here 

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Related Documents:Thailand Divorce Law

Divorce:Marriage and Divorce in Thailand: When Love Turns DeadlyThailand Marriage and Divorce: Thai Dream or Foreigner’s Nightmare?