Child legitimization in Thailand has become more common with foreigners who wish to legitimize their children born to an unwed mother. Most times in Thailand this tends to followed by a child custody application once the child has been legitimized. In Thai law the mother of the child born out of wedlock is the sole guardian of the child.
Child legitimization is normally the first step to a longer process of wanting custody and guardianship of the child. There are two options. The first is to get consent from the mother and the other requires a court application. Once notice has been given she will have to appear before the registrar to state that she will oppose the application as the child is not yours or that you are unsuitable for obtain legitimisation. She will have 60 days for this reply. If she does not reply they will accept that she has not consented to the application either. Note however that if she and the child are outside of Thailand then this period is extended to 180 days.
Under Section 1549 of the Civil and Commercial code you now need to apply to court to have this done. The court would normally give her 90 days again to respond. She can defend the case again however the only defence is going to have to be that it is not your child. In terms of Section 1555 of the Act you only need to prove you are the father and nothing more. The law stipulates that this is all possible where:
- – Where conception was possible be this with consent or no consent
- – Where she has acknowledged that it is your child
- – Where you name is in the birth registry as the father
- – Where they lived together and conception was possible
- – Where it has always been accepted that it was your child
You are going to have to take legal advice in this regard as in one instance the father had been paying child maintenance for the child and it was accepted that the mother acknowledged by accepting these payments as child alimony that it was his child. The courts have already taken the view before that the child should be legitimated where it is the father so that the child can also inherit from the father. See also Father’s Custody Rights in Thailand
There has been an uptick in these types of cases in Thailand over the years with foreigners wanting to take their child back to their home country as they feel that the mother is not able to take care of the child. Clearly this will only become the norm with fathers wanting custody of their children in Thailand after they find out that the child who was conceived was during the time they had been in the country.
As stated before that if you want full custody then it will be a two stage process with child legitimization and child born out of wedlock in Thailand that there first has to be a case that you are the father and then that the mother is not fit to hold full custody. Always take legal advice before you embark on this process as the Family Courts in Thailand are overwhelmed and you will need to ensure that you have the process and legal issues well under hand.