Damages in divorce is complex. Getting divorced in Thailand can take one of two roads. The first is by mutual agreement which is much cheaper and also very fast as it only need to be filed at the district office with a divorce agreement. If both parties are agreeable to the settlement then many of the issues such as damages, property and child custody can be settled. Speak to an attorney about this.
The other option is divorce litigation and you would have to file for damages during this stage. This is a complex process as the damages would normally be linked to your grounds for divorce. If you are getting divorced base on adultery then you can file for damages as described in Section 1516 (1) of the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand.
You can sue your wife or her boyfriend for damages. Note that if you consented to the adultery then you cannot sue for damages as it was done with consent. As for the divorce you would need a private investigator to deal with the proof of the adultery. This investigation can be rather costly by Thai standards and could set you back 30-40,000THB for a professional investigator. As stated these tend to be very complex and a drawn-out affair.
Damages in Divorce
If your grounds for divorce are under Section 1516 (3), (4) or (6) being that you have ‘tortured’ your wife either mentally or physically or that you have not lived together as husband and wife for more than a year as you are not able to live together without verbal of physical fights then there can also be a claim for damages. The courts would however decide on the amount of damages. Note that you should not have brought this on by yourself.
A good example in Thailand would be where you wife has an alcohol problem and fights ensure when she is drunk. Normally the damages would be for the wife who has caused the problem less property during the divorce or also to show them she is not fit to have custody of the children. Note also that the court can make the damages claim in a lump sum or in monthly repayments or by forfeiting property to cover the damages claim. Speak to an attorney about this as well.
Most divorces can be negotiated if there are issues such as damages claim. Having a prenuptial agreement or a registered usufruct over your property in Thailand does give you leverage during a negotiated divorce. You may offer to let the property go and the usufruct over it for custody of your children or use it to settle a damages claim from your spouse. You need proper legal advice for this however always keep the aspect of costs in mind when dealing with a divorce and a claim for damages.
Compensation claims can be expensive however if the value of the property or the custody of your children are important to you then costs should not be a notable factor. Again, obtain proper legal advice before you decide on your actions in the divorce.