Magna Carta Law Firm > FAQ Section > Child Custody and Child Legitimation in Thailand


Child Custody and Child Legitimation in Thailand


The decision on the child custody in Thailand may come from either the parents or the court. If the parents are able to negotiate or agree without the court’s decision, they can keep better control over present and future decisions in behalf of the child. Both parents may discuss about the child’s living situation, visitation rights, daily financial responsibility, educational plans and other important needs of the child.

Can I obtain child custody in Thailand through uncontested divorce or mutual agreement?

For couples going through an uncontested divorce in Thailand, they can create an agreement to specify the sharing of the custody between them. For unmarried couples, the mother shall have the sole custody of the child unless the father registers the child’s legitimation. This procedure of legitimizing the child is necessary before a father can enter into a custody agreement with the mother.

I am not married with my child's mother but my name is in the child’s birth certificate as the father. Does it mean I have equal legal rights as the mother?

Even if your name is on the birth certificate as the biological father, you are not recognized as the legal father under the Thai law.  In Thailand, a child born out-of-wedlock is the legitimate child of the birth mother. The law does not consider the biological father as the legitimate father. Therefore, he shall have no legal rights over the child.

What options do I have to legitimize my child?

According to the Civil and Commercial Code Section 1547, you can legitimize a father’s rights to a child by any of the following:


  • later marriage between the father and the mother
  • registration of legitimation made at the local district office or Amphur on application by the father
  • if there is a judgment by the court

What are the grounds for legitimizing my child if marriage is not a preference?

According to the Civil and Commercial Code Section 1555, you may enter an action for legitimation ONLY in the following cases:

  • there is a rape, abduction or illegal confinement of the mother during the period when conception could have taken place
  • elopement or seduction of the mother happened during the period where conception could have taken place
  • there is a document emanating from the Father and acknowledging the child as his own
  • it appears on the Birth Register that the child is a son or daughter of the man who notified the birth, or who consented to such notification
  • the Father had sexual intercourse with the Mother during the period when conception could have taken place, and there are grounds to believe that he or she is not the child of another man
  • there has been continuous common repute of being a legitimate child

How is a common repute of being a legitimate child established?

Continuous common repute of being a legitimate child results by means of facts showing the relationship of Father and child. This is proven by the child’s connection with the family to which he claims to belong. It includes the Father’s provision for the child’s education or maintenance, or allowing the child to use his family name, or other facts.

Is legitimation registration revocable?

Once you register the legitimation, you cannot revoke it. However, any interested person may, within 3 months from the notification date of such registration, apply to the Court for cancellation of the registration. This is on the ground that the person who insisted the legitimation registration is not the father of the child; in any case, you may only enter such action after ten years from the date of registration.

If the applicant has brought an action to the Court for an order effecting him as the child’s father, the child or the mother may apply to the Court in the same case for an order effecting that the applicant is not a suitable person for exercising the parental power in part or whole, even if he is the real father of the child.

Does a new spouse have parental rights over the spouse’s child from a previous marriage?

Marriage does not grant the spouse any rights over the children of their new Husband or Wife. The previous partner exercises the parental power over such child.

What are the rights of a person with Parental Power?

A person exercising parental power has the rights as follows:

  • determine the child’s residence
  • punish the child in a reasonable manner for disciplinary purposes
  • require the child to undertake work as according to his ability and condition in life
  • demand the return of the child from any person who unlawfully detains him