May 30, 2024

Thailand Child Custody

Thailand Child Custody Law Background

Thailand child custody disputes can occur between parents involved in a divorce case or unmarried parents.   Parents can request the Thai court to award full custody, partial custody or visitation rights for a parent.  Custody disputes often involve issues of which parent is better able to provide a healthy home residence to the child.  Child custody disputes usually create intense emotions and frequently there is a great deal of animosity between the parents.

Jurisdiction and Grounds for Child Custody Cases in Thailand

Thailand has jurisdiction over cases where the child is lawfully residing in Thailand.  The venue for filing a family court case is the Family Court in the province where the child is residing.

As with other cases, there usually must be an event depriving a parent of his or her custody rights before a right to file claim arises, for example when one parent deprives the other parent of their custody right.

The basic concepts of custody law are similar throughout different countries and jurisdictions.  The basic standard usually used by Courts is the issue of “What is in the best interest of the child?”  However the particular standard of what comprises “the best interest of the child” may vary in different jurisdictions and cultures.   Normally Thailand law is applied in child custody cases in Thailand.  However, in conflict of law situations between parents of different nationalities, Thailand law applies the Thailand Conflict of Law Act.  The Thai Conflict of Law Act specifies that in custody disputes between different nationalities, the Thai Court shall apply the law of the nationality of the father.

Special Thailand Child Custody Cases

One type of specialized child custody case is Child Abduction.  Thailand law has a domestic child abduction law and also legislation that enacts the international Law of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction case.

Hague Abduction cases are handled by a separate court and complaints may be submitted to the Attorney general or be filed privately.

Another specialized type of child custody case is the termination of one parent’s parental rights.  In order to terminate a parent’s parental right, extremely strong evidence must be shown that the parent is incompetent or unable to care for the child.

Other Considerations in Thailand Child Custody Cases

Child custody cases often involve criminal allegations and practical problems, such as facilitating visitation without risking abduction.  Many times, emotions can be so strong that safety measures are necessary.

Often times, child custody cases involve international issues and cases are litigated simultaneously in different countries.  For example, there may be a child custody case in one country and a Hague Abduction case in the court of a different country.

Role of Social Workers in Thailand Child Custody Cases

Thailand courts send parents and children to the Observation and Protection Center (OPC) for an evaluation of the child’s family situation by a professional social worker.  The social worker conducts interviews and prepares a report for the Thailand Court.  Usually the Thai court follows carefully the recommendation of the OPC. Nevertheless, the Court can also make an independent judgment that differs from the recommendation of the OPC.


Thailand Family Lawyers
What kinds of child custody issues are handled by Thailand courts?

A: Thailand Family Courts may decide on the following issues:

  • Granting custody to one parent
    • Modifying custody orders
    • Establishing legal custody rights
    • Child support
    • Child visitation rights
    • Joint custody
    • Termination of custodial rights

Q: How is paternity law involved in Thailand child custody law?

A: According to Thailand law, both parents of a child have full custodial rights, be the parents married or unmarried. Legal issues often surround the finding of a father’s rights to a child, or “paternity”. Thailand law requires that a father be the “legal” parent, as well as the biological parent, to have father’s rights. This procedure is called establishing Thailand paternity rights. It is important for fathers to realize that merely being the child’s biological parent does not normally qualify a father for partial or full custody rights to a child.

Q: How are a father’s legal rights established?

A: Father’s rights are established as a finding of legal paternity. Legal paternity differs from mere biological fatherhood. Cases can be filed by a biological father seeking father’s rights, or by a mother, seeking child support from the biological father.

Q: Are social workers used in child custody disputes?

A: Since issues concerning child welfare are considered to be central to ruling on child custody matters, Family Courts provide special procedures to examine the social, psychological and health issues involved in the child’s best interest.
The Observation and Protection Center is appointed by the Thai Family Court to perform a social study of the case prior to trial. Normally both parents and the child will be requested to appear for interview.

Q: How do Thailand courts protect children and families?

Child custody cases are handled on a routine basis in Thailand Family Courts. The main consideration used by the courts in determining custody is what is in the best interest of the child. Accordingly the behavior of the parents and child development issues are analyzed closely by the Thai court.