Child Custody

Thailand child custody issue

In Thailand child custody issue always arises when spouses having children decide to file for a divorce, or when spouses decide to live separately. Additionally, child custody is often an issue for an unmarried couple who has children born out of marriage.

Legitimation of Children in Thailand

If the father of the child born out of the marriage files a legitimation of the child in Thailand, the custody issue can be petitioned together with the legitimation case. The court in the same case will decide whether the father is suitable to exercise partial or whole custody over the child. Sounds tricky? Allow us to help!

Custodial rights under Thai laws

Under the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand (CCCT), the term of the rights of custody is called “parental power”. The parental power is exercised by the father, the mother, or a third person who is a legal guardian of the child until the child reaches the legal age (20 years old), and a person exercising parental power has the right as follows:

  • To determine the child’s place of residence
  • To discipline the child reasonably
  • To require the child to work, consistently with his or her abilities and status
  • To demand the return of the child from someone else, including another parent who does not have custody rights and unlawfully detains the child
  • To manage the property of the child with the restriction that selling, mortgaging, and exchanging the property of the minor child must obtain the approval of the court

Procedure for Detaining Child Custody in Thailand

Child custody in Thailand can be obtained by two procedures as follows:

➔ By the mutual consent of the parties

  • For a married couple living in Thailand, if a divorce is by mutual consent (an uncontested or administrative divorce) the couple can agree to share custody of a child. This agreement can also deal with child support and visitation rights.
  • In order for the agreement to be valid, it must be signed by two witnesses and registered at a district office when the divorce is registered.
  • For an unmarried couple having a child born outside of a legal marriage, the mother has the right to sole custody over the child. For the father to be considered as having custody rights he must first be registered as the child’s legitimate father.
  • The father has to register a legitimization of the child with his local district office, and the child’s mother must consent to the legitimation. If the mother agrees, then the father is allowed either joint or sole custody depending on the agreement made between the parents.

➔ By the decision of the court

  • Child custody in Thailand can also be decided by the courts. For a married couple, if their divorce is granted by the court (a contested divorce), the judge in the case decides which parent should be granted custody. The judge can also choose to appoint a third person as the child’s guardian if it would be in the best interests of the child.
  • The judge can also take away custody rights if a parent becomes incompetent, in cases of misconduct, or if the parent abuses their parental powers. The public prosecutor or the parent not having custody rights can file a petition to change the child’s custody arrangements at any time.
  • In the case of an unmarried couple having a child born outside of a legal marriage, if the father files for the legitimation of the child, he can petition for custody at the same time as filing the legitimation case. The court will make a determination as to whether it is suitable for the father to have partial or sole custody of the child.

Child custody rights in Thailand are governed by the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand (CCCT) under the term “parental power”. This power can be exercised by the mother, father, or legal guardian until the child reaches the legal age of 20. The person exercising parental power has the right to determine the child’s residence, demand the child’s return from someone unlawfully detaining the child, and manage the child’s property with certain restrictions. In cases of divorce, child custody in Thailand can be determined through mutual agreement or court decision. For unmarried couples, the mother initially has sole custody, but the father can obtain rights through a legitimation process. It’s crucial to note that the specifics of each situation can vary greatly, so professional legal advice is recommended when dealing with child custody rights in Thailand.

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