Types of Child Legitimation in Thailand

In Thailand, fathers can gain custody rights for their children by legitimizing them through marriage, by registering a relationship between the father and the mother, or by a court judgment.

The process of child legitimation is rich with cultural considerations and legal complexities. It weaves biological fathers into the tapestry of family life in ways that foster strong and healthy relationships.

Legal Paternity

If you are not legally married to the mother of your child in Thailand, then although you may appear on the birth certificate, you do not automatically have parental rights. This could lead to serious legal problems for you and your family in the future.

One of the ways to gain those rights is to legitimate the child through a process called “legitimation”. This involves submitting an application at the local district office (Amphur). The mother and child must express their consent for this and either appear in person or give their consent via notification within sixty days (or eighty if they are abroad) after the father’s legitimation application is filed.

Child legitimation offers parents important rights and responsibilities, including custody and visitation. However, it is a complex process and obtaining legal representation is recommended to ensure that all steps are taken properly and the proper documents are presented. A lawyer specializing in family law can provide invaluable guidance.

Custody Rights

In Thai culture, children are expected to honor their parents. Therefore, a father who wishes to exercise custody and parental power in the future may wish to legitimize his child by acknowledging his role as the father before a government registrar.

This process entitles him to inheritance rights, as well as visitation and support obligations. It also allows him to change the child’s name to include his surname, thus recognizing his lineage and identity. It may also enable the child to access medical and educational benefits, promoting their overall wellbeing.

Custody issues may be addressed within the same legitimation case, and a court will assess whether it is in the best interest of the child to grant custody to the father. A judicial ruling will then be issued to the registrar for registration. The process takes sixty days (or one hundred and eighty days if the mother or child are living abroad). The applicant will have to present himself before the registrar for affirmation of his application.

Inheritance Rights

Under Thai law, a child born to unmarried parents is only considered the legitimate child of the mother unless steps are taken by the father to legitimize the child. By completing the process of legitimation, fathers can gain parenting rights and access to social benefits like inheritance rights, including the right to pass on family heritage to their children.

The process of legitimization can be initiated through marriage, acknowledgment of paternity and even a court order. In the case of marriage, the father must submit proof that he and the mother were married at the time of the child’s birth to register the legitimation.

For acknowledgment of paternity, the father must provide DNA results or other substantial evidence that he is the biological father of the child to register the legitimacy. The child must also consent to the legitimacy. Upon the death of the father, the legitimized child will inherit from him along with his spouse and statutory heirs in Classes 4, 5, and 6. If the father is not a statutory heir, the inheritance will go to the state.

Visitation Rights

Child legitimation grants children the legal recognition they deserve, ensuring their rights and inheritance. It reduces social stigma, and it entitles them to access government benefits. It also allows parents to establish custody and visitation rights.

To initiate the process, a father must submit a request to register his child to a local district office Amphur. The registrar will notify the mother and child of the application, giving them the chance to express their consent. If they do not appear or give their consent within sixty days (or one hundred and eighty in case the mother or child are living abroad), it is assumed that they object to the father’s request.

The procedure is simple, but it does require verification of both parents’ identity and that the child is indeed their biological offspring. After the process is complete, the father will have equal parental power and custody responsibilities, as well as visitation rights. He will also be entitled to inherit a deceased parent’s property.

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