Child custody battles in Thailand are not uncommon especially when it comes to expats. People might write off property in the name of savings costs during a divorce. However when it comes to their children it normally ends in long drawn-out court battles and at time violence which make news headlines. See the section on divorce documents in Thailand. Some of the headlines in Thailand over the past 5 years shows how custody and property battles look. They do turn ugly.
Custody battles also have a negative effect on the children and tends to affect their schooling while in Thailand. This is another problem and why it is best to try and find middle ground during a negotiated settlement in Thailand and find reasonable grounds with regards to child custody as well as child maintenance. Note that custody battles are not always during a divorce in Thailand but also affect those who live together but are not married. Normally the mother holds custody over the children.
Custody rights in Thailand is normally called Parental Power as the Thai Civil and Commercial Code lists what these powers are and who can hold them.
Child Custody in Thailand:
Parental Power is normally held by either the mother, father or the legal guardian of the child. Parental Power allows the mother, father or legal guardian to:
- Firstly determine the residency of the child;
- Secondly determine the appropriate discipline of the child;
- Thirdly determine the right for the child to work;
- Fourth determine who can exercise rights over the child;
- Finally determine the best for the child regards to property and management thereof.
The above rights are very important especially a) as this person determines where the child lives as well as d) which allows the person with parental power to determine who can exercise power of the child. This become important if you are leaving Thailand after the divorce and want the child or children to visit you in your home country. If you ex-wife has parental power then she will decide the terms and conditions however it is easier to settle these in a divorce agreement without the need for litigation. There are a number of ways to obtain parental power:
This would be the most common as a divorce agreement would usually contain a custody agreement which covers the children. The custody agreement would cover visitation rights, monthly maintenance as well as custody sharing. This agreement must be signed by both parties before two witnesses. If you are not married then sole custody is vested in the mother. You can however contact an attorney in Bangkok to setup an agreement for you. Note however the child must have been registered at birth with you being the father.
Consent by Litigation:
If the divorce is going to be litigated then the courts will make a ruling on custody as well as any agreement between the parties with regards to maintenance and visitation rights. If you are not married then you would have to make an application for legitimation and the custody.
Either way contact the law firm in Bangkok for assistance and further guidance with regards to child custody in Thailand.