Rights and Duties of a Parent and Child in Thailand
The Thai Family Code spells out the rights and duties of a parent and a child in their relationship. Under Thai law, a child born of a marriage or within 310 days of the termination of a marriage is presumed to be the child of the married couple. If the child is born outside of marriage, the mother is given sole custody and the father is given no rights to the child until he legitimizes the parent child relationship through a court order or the mother’s consent filed with the local provincial government. A person can be named on the birth certificate as the father of the child but that does not confer him any rights over the child.
See the legitimation of a child in Thailand.
Legally established parents are given parental rights over the child. The child is subject to parental control of the parents until the child is legally determined to be an adult. Adulthood occurs when the child reaches the age of majority which is 20 years old in Thailand or when the child gets married. Until this time, parents have rights and obligations to their child.
The primary right of a parent is the right to determine the child’s place of residence and raise the child in a reasonable manner. This includes the right to discipline the child, right to teach the child a specific religion, the right to require the child to reasonable work, and the right to demand the return of the child from any person who unlawfully detains them. In addition, parents have the right to manage the child’s property in a reasonable manner. Children are required to help to care for the parents when the children become adults.
There are limits to the parent’s rights over their children. Parents need to be reasonable in their exercise of parental power. They cannot enter into contracts in the name of the child which places the child into debt like mortgaging or leasing property. They cannot force their children to enter into actions which are prohibited by law. Parents cannot place the child in risk of physical harm. Parents cannot transfer their parental rights and duties to a third party. The parental rights and duties can only be revoked or transferred to a third party through court action. Step-parents do not have any rights to the children of the biological spouse unless there is an adoption.
Children also have rights and duties to the parents. Children have the right to use the family name of the father and if the father is unknown, they have the right to use the name of the mother or closest relative. Children have the right to be well cared for including the right to an education, food, clothing, and shelter from the parents. If the child is infirmed and unable to take care of themselves, the parents are bound to maintain them even when the children becomes an adult. Children cannot sue their parents in civil or criminal court unless the case is first initiated by a public prosecutor.
Children cannot renounce or transfer their rights to maintenance. Even after the parent’s divorce or separate, the child has a right to receive maintenance to provide for the basic necessaries for the child. Children have the right to sue a parent if a parent refused to provide maintenance.
See the Child Support Law in Thailand.
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