Thailand law requires that paternity be established either by marriage to the mother prior to the mother giving birth to the child or, through court action. In certain limited circumstances, paternity can also be obtained by an administration legal process. In this regard, a man may be the biological father and have established a relationship with his child, but without having met the necessary legal requirements, may lack the legal rights of a lawful father over his child.
Q: Why are paternity rights important?
A: Paternity rights can be extremely important in court cases deciding child custody or child support issues. A father may decide to move to establish Thailand paternity rights in order to gain partial or full custody over a child. A mother may move to establish the paternity of a father in order to gain child support payments. On the other hand, in some cases, men seek to defend against being ruled as a legal father, and would therefore fight against a paternity case.
Q: What is Thailand paternity law?
A: In summary, a child born to parents that are married to each other is considered the legitimate child of the husband and wife. A child born out of wedlock is, in general, considered the legitimate child of the mother. Accordingly, a birth mother’s legal rights are automatic but the father’s rights are not. A common misconception is that a father’s name on a birth certificate establishes paternal rights, but this claim is incorrect.
Q: Do foreign parents of Thai children have paternity rights?
A: For children born in Thailand, the law for foreign fathers is basically the same as it applies to paternity rights of a Thai father. In order to have rights to one’s child, the father must either be married to the mother or file for paternity rights. In international cases, issues of conflict of laws may arise, and foreign law may become relevant.
Q: What about adoption?
A: In the course of the adoption process, the legal rights of the adoptive parents to a child are established via adoption procedures. The Thailand Adoption process is often used by spouses who are not the biological or birth parents of their spouse’s child.
Q: Is citizenship important?
A: A Foreign parent may establish that their children born to Thai national spouse are citizens of the foreign spouse’s home country. In establishing citizenship, each nation usually will have its own legal requirements. This is normally done through the relevant embassy in Thailand. Careful consideration should be given to establishing dual citizenship of bi-national children, as it can have far-reaching effects.
Q: How is paternity proven in Thailand outside of marriage?
Establishing paternity outside of marriage involves filing court petition and obtaining a court order. Establishing paternity rights of the foreign father, pursuant to foreign (non-Thai) law may have different procedures. Each country has its own nationality and citizenship law. Foreigners residing in Thailand normally carry out this procedure through their embassy.