Child Legitimation in Thailand is a process that bestows significant rights upon children. This includes the right to use their father’s surname and the ability to gain citizenship or nationality through their father.
Additionally, it helps to alleviate the stigma associated with illegitimate children and grants fathers equal authority and responsibility in matters regarding their children.
1. Biological Relationship
A child can be legitimised in Thailand if the father is biologically related to the child. The process is a two step process which requires the mother to express her consent and then both the mother and the child must appear before a registrar for registration of the legitimation. Once registered the children will have legal rights including the right to inherit, use the father’s surname and obtain citizenship or nationality with their father. In addition, the father will be able to exercise parental power partly or wholly over the child.
Paternity is normally established either through marriage to the mother or through court action and government registration. A man who has a biological relationship with a child can gain rights and responsibilities over the child by following the process outlined in BOOK V: Family, Title II: Parent and Child at the local district office (Amphur). This is a relatively simple process if the mother agrees but more complex where she does not.
In Thai law, a father only legally gains parental rights to his children after he legitimizes them with a two-step process that requires the mother’s express consent and a visit with a district office registrar. This allows them to use the father’s surname and access government benefits such as medical insurance, passports, and citizenship. Additionally, it reduces the social stigma associated with illegitimacy and helps to ensure that children are provided for throughout their lives through the father’s legal obligation to support them.
However, the mother or child may oppose the application for registration of legitimization and if this is the case the matter will require the involvement of court proceedings. This will also take into consideration whether the applicant is fit to be a parent. Applicants must have the legal capacity to provide consent and must be at least 20 years old.
3. Legal Capacity
In Thailand a father is only allowed to gain custody of his child after it has been legitimated by either the mother’s consent filed with the local district office (known in Thai as Amphur) or by a judgement from the court. This is a process that requires appointments with Officials, what we would call Social Workers in the West.
Legitimisation is an important process that has far-reaching implications for families. In the case of migrant children it may lead to them being recognised as citizens, which will allow for access to education and health services. It will also enable them to bear the father’s surname, apply for citizenship or nationality of the father’s country and travel internationally. It also enables the child to receive inheritance rights and legal standing for protection and advocacy. It may protect both parents from legal disputes and complications in the event of separation, divorce, death or custody issues. It is a process that is based on cultural values and legal considerations.
Inheritance Rights: Children who are legitimized have the same inheritance rights as those of married couples. Citizenship: Legitimated children can obtain a Thai passport and enjoy all privileges afforded to the country’s citizens. Name Change: Legitimization allows a child to bear the father’s surname, further establishing their lineage and identity. Medical and Educational Benefits: Legitimized children have access to government-provided healthcare and education, ensuring their well-being.
The process of legitimation can take time and a great deal of effort from all parties involved. It involves completing all necessary paperwork and supplying required documents such as a child’s birth certificate and the father’s identification. Once all the requirements have been met and verified, a Certificate of Legitimation will be issued by the local district office. However, if the mother objects to the application, refuses to give consent or is unable to do so, then the registration of legitimation will require a judgment from the court before it can be effectuated.