In Thailand, a child custody concern always comes up when married couples having children decide to live separately or when they are having a divorce. And sometimes, the child custody is also a problem for unmarried couples who have children born outside of marriage. If we refer to the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand (CCCT), the term of the rights of custody is called “parental power”.

Child Custody

The parental power is employed by the father, the mother, or a third person who acts as legal guardian of the child until he or she reaches the legal age of 20. The individual exercising parental power has the right as follows:

  • – To decide on where the child should take residency
  • – To reprimand the child in a fair and sensible way
  • – To oblige the child to work based on his or her abilities and status
  • – To order the return of the child from anyone else, including either parent who does not have custody rights of the child
  • – To supervise the properties of the minor child with the restriction that selling, exchanging and mortgage of these properties must obtain the approval of the court

Two procedures for child custody in Thailand:

CHILD CUSTODY AGREED BY MUTUAL CONSENT

Thailand Child custody for married couples

If the divorce in Thailand is by mutual consent or the uncontested divorce, it should include in the divorce agreement how the custody shall be shared between them, visitation rights and child support.

Thailand Child custody for unmarried couples

If a child is born outside of the marriage, the mother only has the sole custody over the child. However, if the father should demand custody rights over the child, the child must be registered as a legitimate child of the father first.

CHILD CUSTODY DECIDED BY THE COURT

If the divorce in Thailand is granted by the court or contested divorce, the judge will decide who should be granted the custody of the child; otherwise, he can appoint a third person as a guardian in place of the parents if it is for the happiness and interest of the child. However, the judge can also take away the custody if a parent is incompetent, or has abused his or her parental power. Either parents without custody or the public prosecutor on the child’s behalf can file a petition to change the child custody anytime.

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