Thai Family Law: How to Parent with Child Custody
After a divorce in Thailand where there is mutual consent, the terms of divorce may be attached to the divorce certificate and has legal force according to Sections 1566(4) and 1520 paragraph 1 of the Civil and Commercial Code. If the couple have children, then the most important term that is agreed to by the parties is which parent is to have custody of the children. However, what if at a later point in time, the circumstances change and accordingly the parties or one of the parties wish to change the parent with custodial power? For example, suppose in one situation a couple divorces and it was agreed that the mother is to have custody. This situation leads to the following questions below.
- What is the procedure to change the parent with custodial power to be the father? What documents are required?
- If the mother consents to the change in custodial power, but is unable to appear in person to give consent, can the mother authorized another person to appear in her place?
- What if the mother does not consent?
To clarify, a situation where it is best to change parent power where the mother does not consent would be a situation where the father is financially supporting the child and actually raising the child due to abandonment by mother, although the mother is still the legal custodial parent.
The change in custodial power must be granted by a court-of-law which must consider the well-being and interests of the children according to Section 1521 of the Civil and Commercial Code.
The documents required to begin the procedure are: (1) the divorce certificate and the divorce agreement that was annexed to the certificate, (2) the identification of the applicant, (in this case, the father), (3) the Ministry of Interior record of the mother’s identity, (4) the birth certificate and the house registration of the father.
The process can be begun by making a filing to one of the following places:
- The Juvenile and Family Court in the jurisdiction where the divorce certificate and divorce agreement were recorded.
- The Juvenile and Family Court in the jurisdiction where the mother has her legal domicile.
It is not possible for the mother to authorize another person to represent her in the proceedings. After the proceedings are filed, both mother and father must offer testimony regarding the child before the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection.
In the case that the mother does not consent, the father must filing a legal proceeding against the mother in her place of domicile.
Thai family law is complex. It is necessary for an attorney to draft a filing and submit it to the court. Therefore, if you require to change the custodial power of a child, please seek the assistance of competent Thailand lawyers.
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