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Child Custody

– Custody of Child

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

If the father of the child born out of the marriage files a legitimation of 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 the partial or whole custody over the child. Sounds tricky? Allow us to help!

Information for Clients

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, consistent 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 exchange 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 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.

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