Background: Thailand Child Custody Law
Child custody disputes in Thailand between parents can arise in different situations. Most frequently, child custody disputes occur in the course of a divorce. However, many times parents are involved in a child custody disputes although they were never married. On some occasions, a married couple may be separated, but not divorced. Separated parents also have the right to dispute their custody rights in Thailand Family courts although they are still married and not seeking a divorce.
Fatherís Child Custody Rights
According to Thailand child custody law, both lawful parents of a child have full custodial rights (unless a Thailand court order modifies these parental rights.) Nevertheless, unmarried biological fathers do not have custodial rights (without a legal order.) Legal issues in child custody cases in Thailand often involve the finding of paternity. In other words, Thailand law requires that a father be the “legal” parent, as well as the biological parent, to have parental rights and legal child custody. Women, on the other hand, when they are the birth mother are considered by Thai law to be the lawful parent without additional court or administrative processes.
Father’s legal rights as a parent of a child are established by the finding of legal paternity. Legal paternity differs from mere biological fatherhood. Many cases have, as a main issue, the establishment of legal paternity. A legal marriage to the birth mother usually establishes lawful paternity and therefore establishes custody rights for a father. On the other hand, with unmarried parents, paternity cases can be filed by a biological father seeking father’s rights, or by a mother, seeking child support from a biological father or to enforce other legal responsibilities that a lawful father has (for example, inheritance rights). When a man is married to a biological mother during the time that a woman gives birth or shortly thereafter, that man is deemed to be the lawful father pursuant to Thailand law. Therefore, it is possible for a man who is not the biological father to be deemed the lawful father and be vested with parental rights and responsibilities.
Thailand Child Custody Law: Best Interests of the Child
Thailand Family law uses the best interest of the child as their major policy concern in determining child custody case. The “best interest of the child” is also the usual standard in child custody cases in most western jurisdictions. Accordingly the behavior of the parents and child development issues are analyzed closely by the Thai court with the assistance of social worker reports.
The Role of Social Worker Analysis
The Observation and Protection Center (“OPC”) has been established by the family courts of Thailand to allow for a preliminary social worker evaluation of the parents and the child involved in a child custody dispute. The report of the OPC is forwarded to the Family Court to assist with determination of the child custody issues prior to the litigation of the issues in Court.
Thailand Child Custody Attorneys
Chaninat and Leeds’ family law lawyers have decades of courtroom and counseling experience in family law matters, including child custody, child support, property and asset disputes, divorce, separation, guardianship and revocation of custody, and parental rights cases.
Our primary objective in all child custody cases is to win cases and defend our client’s interests. However, given the sensitive nature of child custody cases, we also understand the importance of compassion, understanding and patience.
Therefore, our role is dual: we are defenders of our clients and also sympathetic counselors and problem solvers.
The following issues are just examples of the issues that can arise in a custody case:
- Granting custody to one parent
- Termination of custody rights of a parent
- Modifying custody orders
- Establishing legal custody rights
- Child support
- Child visitation rights
- Joint custody
- Termination of custodial rights
- Hague convention on child abduction
- DNA testing for paternity