Child Custody in Thailand
An Australian may find himself in the middle of an issue regarding child custody in Thailand. This is possible if he is married to a Thai but is working on to have such marriage dissolved legally and permanently. However, a child custody issue may also arise even if he is not legally married to but is on a relationship with a Thai that resulted to the birth of a child yet the relationship has since gone sour resulted to the separation of the involved parties.
The provisions of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code that covers child custody may be glaringly different with those of Australia’s laws and so the Australian national must diligently read the general information on such bellow. It would also be of great help if he would consult a well-learned and highly experienced Thai family lawyer with extensive knowledge on Australian laws.
The parental power
By definition, the parental power of the father, mother or a legal guardian can only be exercised upon a child if he is not yet twenty (20) years old. Also, the same law identifies parental power as on the same definition as parental custody.
Under the Civil and Commercial Code, the following are the rights of the person who has parental power over a child:
- To determine the child’s place of residence.
- To reasonably discipline the child.
- To require the same child to work in consonance of his ability and status.
- To demand the other parent or another party, who has no custodial rights, to return the child to him.
- To properly manage, and in accordance to the restrictions, the properties of the child.
Child custody can be obtained by a party or by both parties through either procedures, by mutual consent or through a court decision.
By Mutual Consent
If the couple are legally married but are divorcing, the legally separating couple may enter into a divorce agreement detailing how a shared custody must go between them. However, such agreement should be validated and be made official by having it attested and signed by two qualified witnesses apart from the divorcing couple as well as the document being fully registered with the Amphur.
In case of the child being born out of wedlock, it is the mother of the child who has sole custody over him though the father may have custodial rights provided that the child has been registered as a legitimate child of his. To legitimize, the child’s father himself must register it at an Amphur in Thailand and when the mother as well as the child give consent for the legitimation to occur, the father may have sole or joint custody over the child.
By Court Decision
If the parents are married but are divorcing through a contested divorce, it would be the judge’s decision on which parent or party to grant the custodial rights basing on the happiness and best interests of the child. Yet still, the parent without the custody or even the public prosecutor, may still contest this and take away the custody from a parent if such parent is incompetent in exercising his custodial rights or has done a misconduct or abuse on his custodial power over the child.
If the parents of the child are not legally married, the father may file for a legitimation of his child. The child’s father should demonstrate to the court his suitability to have a partial or sole custody over the child.