Child Custody in Thailand

Child Custody in Thailand is a sensitive issue which requires professional handling.

Enshrined in the family law, parents are entitled to custody and care of their children. This is determined by the courts based on a number of factors.

For a father to exercise custody rights, he has to legitimize his child by filing a case for child legitimation at the local district office.

Sole custody

A child custody dispute often arises during divorce proceedings in Thailand. However, there are also instances when parents contest their parental rights even though they are not divorced. In this article Chaninat and Leeds will discuss the process of determining a parent’s child custody in Thailand.

Under Thai law a mother holds sole custody of a child unless the father petitions to legitimize the child. If the mother agrees to such legitimization the father may request partial or full custody.

In this type of scenario it is not uncommon for the mother to share the custody duties with a close relative like an aunt or uncle. This allows the relative to have an active role in the child’s life and fosters a healthy relationship with the father. The Family Court judges who rule on these cases are inherently child-centric, and they always put the best interests of the child at the forefront of their deliberations.

Joint custody

Child custody disputes between parents in Thailand may occur either during a divorce or as a result of separation. The prevailing criteria for determining custody is what the courts think is best for the child. This standard is generally the same in most jurisdictions and cultures. However, in cases where a foreign national spouse neglects his/her child support payments, the aggrieved custodial parent may face problems as Thailand is not a member of the 2007 Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.

By law, the parents are dictated to provide financial and emotional support to their children until they reach the age of twenty (20). If a father wishes to have full parental powers in relation to a child born out of wedlock, he/she must first legitimize the child by filing a legal paternity case with the district office. The father can then petition for joint or sole custody with the mother.

Child abduction

Having a child is the fulfilment of most people’s dreams and it brings happiness to their lives. However, it is also a serious responsibility for parents. It can be devastating to lose a child even for just a minute. Hence, many parents worry about their children going missing. This is why it is important to have a clear custody arrangement with a Thai court.

Although, it is rare for a parent to abduct their child in Thailand, it does happen. Luckily, Thailand is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction and has domestic laws that allow for the aggrieved parent to file a civil claim to have their child returned to their country of habitual residence.

If a child has been kidnapped from Thailand, a qualified family law attorney can assist you with filing your case with the appropriate authorities. In addition, they can help you establish lawful child custody and guardianship in Thailand. They will also ensure that your rights are protected and your child is returned safely to you.

Termination of parental rights

If a child has been abducted and is living with someone else, both the mother and father have the right to demand that the child return to them. This is a legal remedy that can be used to prevent child abuse and exploitation.

In Thailand, parents have the legal authority to determine their child’s place of residence and exercise parental powers. Having “parental power” also gives them the ability to punish the child in reasonable manner for disciplinary purposes and to perform work on behalf of their child.

When a father wishes to obtain “parental powers” over his child, he must first legitimise the child with the local district office. This process involves obtaining consent from the mother and the child. Children are protected from abuse and neglect by laws requiring that all children be provided with food, shelter, clothing and education. Parents are obligated to financially support their children even after they reach the age of majority.

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