Child Custody in Thailand

Child custody is one of the most sensitive issues in Thailand family law. Custody and parental powers are usually determined in a divorce agreement or by a judge’s decision in a contested divorce.

Normally the mother is awarded full custody and parental powers in a divorce. However, fathers can obtain visitation rights by registering themselves as the legal father through a procedure called legitimation.

Sole Custody

When a married couple gets divorced in Thailand the mother normally retains full custody and parental powers over their child. However, this does not mean that the father of the child has no rights. In this situation, a father should first obtain legal paternity rights to his child.

In this case a father should file a petition for legitimation of his child at the local district office and include this issue in his or her divorce proceedings.

A father can also seek custody if he or she has been abused by the mother. In such cases, the Court can remove custody from the abused parent and award it to the other parent.

Joint Custody

In Thailand, as in most western countries, a parent’s rights and responsibilities for a child are determined by a judge in the court system. The judge will base his decision on what is best for the child.

If a father wants to have rights (and obligations) over his child, he will have to get this legitimation from the courts through a process of registering paternity. This is a complicated process that requires a lot of documentation to be presented to the family court.

Usually custody disputes arise in the context of a divorce, but they also may occur between parents who are separated but not seeking a divorce. In either case, it is crucial that both parties seek the guidance of an experienced legal professional and prioritise the child’s well-being. The legal framework surrounding these issues can be complex and layered, but with informed decision-making and compassionate understanding, a positive outcome can be reached.

Visitation Rights

In Thailand, both parents have parental rights and duties even after a divorce. They are responsible for the children’s care and education until they reach legal age of 20 years. Parents are also obligated to provide food, shelter and clothing for their children.

In Thai Family law, the best interest of the child is a primary concern in determining custody cases. A professional social worker is usually sent to conduct a thorough examination of the family. The recommendation of the social worker is closely followed by the court.

For a married couple, the distribution of custody is determined either by a written agreement or by a decision made by the judge after the case is brought to court. In the case of a child born out of wedlock, the father must register for legitimation in order to acquire rights over the child. In the West the term “custody” is used almost in the same way as guardianship, but under Thai law it refers to the physical 'guardianship' of the child.

Legal Paternity

In Thailand, a father who wants legal rights to his child must first legitimize the child through a two-step process. The requirements include having a DNA test, photographs of the father and mother showing they were together when she was pregnant, witness statements that the father publicly reported the pregnancy, as well as proof that the father paid hospital bills or other expenses for the mother and child.

The problem for foreign fathers is that if they fail to follow these procedures, it is unlikely that the court will give them any custody or visitation rights. As a result, many fathers who try to obtain these rights are unable to do so and find themselves in a situation where they must pay child support but have no contact with their children. This is one of the reasons why it is important to seek professional legal advice when dealing with child custody issues in Thailand. A good lawyer can help you ensure that you are doing everything in your power to protect your rights and those of your child.

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