Child Custody in Thailand
Child custody in Thailand mainly comes to the fore during a divorce. With a foreign parent this makes it even more difficult. The foreign parent might want to go back to his home country and wants the children to live in his country maybe for better education or quality of life. These disputes do turn ugly and they are usually very costly.
You also do get disputes between a foreigner and a Thai national where the child has been born out of wedlock. These are more complex issues and most times it might be best to try and settle them out of court. The child born out of wedlock usually lives with the mother and the mother gets to exercise control over the child which is called parental control.
Child Custody in Thailand
Should the matter be taken to court then the court will decide who gets to manage the child and have the right to parental control. This would either be the mother, father or a court appointed guardian. Single parent or children born out of wedlock is normally a bigger problem as the father might want custody as the mother has a drug abuse problem or other problems which he feels makes her unfit to be a parent. The courts may appoint as stated above a legal guardian for the child. It does not mean that the father can take the child back to his own country, however the courts are more likely to decide on a legal guardian for the child in Thailand.
Children can complicate many things in Thailand during a divorce. Since you as the father and being a foreigner cannot own land or a house in your name in Thailand you might have placed the property in the name of the child. Whoever gets child custody then will also exercise control over the property in the name of the child. As stated elsewhere on this website, when it comes to property – take proper legal advice.
If the child is born out of wedlock then you are going to have to make 2 applications. The first is the legitimisation of the child where you apply to court to have you registered as the father of the child. The second application is for either partial or full child custody of the child. The Thai Family Court will decide what is best in the interest of the child with regards to custody. They could rule for a partial custody, full custody or a court appointed guardian.
Speak to a family lawyer in Thailand for more information. If the child custody is part of the divorce proceeding then the custody will be ruled on by the courts during the divorce and no separate application would need to be made. The child custody as stated above needs a court application and is a two stage process. Take sound legal advice on these matters before you pursue them.