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.


How can a child custody lawyer assist in resolving custody disputes in Thailand?

A child custody lawyer in Thailand plays a crucial role in navigating the complexities of custody disputes. They can offer expert guidance on the rights and responsibilities under the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand, particularly concerning “parental power.” Harwell Legal International professionals assist both married and unmarried parents in understanding their legal positions and in negotiating custody arrangements that prioritize the child’s welfare. In cases of divorce or separation, Harwell Legal International can help draft a custody agreement that includes child support and visitation rights, ensuring the agreement is lawful and registered appropriately.

In what ways can a child custody attorney help legitimize a child and secure custody rights in Thailand?

A child custody attorney is instrumental for fathers seeking to establish their legal relationship with a child born out of wedlock in Thailand. Through the process of legitimation, an attorney can facilitate the father’s registration as the legitimate parent, which is a prerequisite for obtaining custodial rights. The attorney can guide the father through the consent process with the mother and represent him in court if custody rights are contested. Their expertise is vital in presenting a case that aligns with Thai law and the child’s best interests, potentially leading to joint or sole custody agreements.

What is the age of consent for children to have legal capacity under Thai laws, and how does it affect child custody?

In Thailand, the age of consent for children to have legal capacity is set at 20 years old. This threshold is significant in child custody matters as it defines the duration of “parental power,” where a parent or legal guardian has the right to make decisions regarding the child’s place of residence, discipline, labor in line with their abilities, and control over their property with certain legal restrictions. The age of consent underscores the period during which custody decisions and parental responsibilities are valid and enforceable under Thai law.

How does the Thailand age of consent impact decisions in child custody cases?

The Thailand age of consent affects child custody decisions as it marks the point at which a child is considered legally capable of making their own decisions, thus ending parental power. Prior to reaching this age, custody decisions are made based on the best interests of the child, taking into account the child’s well-being, safety, and development. The age of consent in custody cases is a crucial factor that courts consider when determining custody arrangements, ensuring that children are under the care and supervision of responsible adults until they reach legal maturity.

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