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The Family Room Want to know the best place to buy baby clothing or toys, are diapers available in Thaliand? What about the best hospitals, the pitfalls of hiring a nanny or helper. How to keep teenagers amused in Bangkok, can I hire a carseat when I travel? Which children's medications are available?

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Old 06-12-2010, 08:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Thai parental rights

A family friend here in Macau came over last night in tears after she had gotten off the phone with her 10-year old daughter and then her ex-boyfriend. It turns out her ex-boyfriend was at some bar getting wasted rather than spending time with his daughter on father's day. Words were exchanged with both calling each other bad parents and the worst of all, a kwai.

Long story short, this argument led her to want custody of her kid (Not sure if it's genuine love, or just revenge, but that's not my decision).

A little background on her, she left him 6 years ago after she found him high several times on Yaa ba, however she left the kid with him and his parents, as they had lived with them (why leave them with a druggie, TIT..). Throughout the past six years she's been working in factories just outside of Bangkok and has only been able to return to see her daughter maybe once every 3 to 4 months for a few days at a time, however now she wants to bring her daughter here to Macau to live with her and her fiance (some Aussie bloke) permanently.

She asked me what she can do, but ffs I'm not that familiar with Thai law, so I'm not quite sure what she can do in short of getting a lawyer. FWIW, the daughter stated that she loves living with her father/grandparents and has already told her mother in the past that she does not want to move away from them.

How does Thai law work, is it like Western law where the mother is generally always going to be looked on in a more favorable light regardless of what really transpires? Also, what sort of rights does the father have in this case?
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by drawp
what sort of rights does the father have in this case?
You said ex-boyfriend rather than husband so I'll assume they're unmarried. In that case, under Thai law (and if the child has not been legitimized, i.e. officially acknowledged as the child of her father), the father has absolutely no rights at all.
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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what sort of rights does the father have in this case?
You said ex-boyfriend rather than husband so I'll assume they're unmarried. In that case, under Thai law (and if the child has not been legitimized, i.e. officially acknowledged as the child of her father), the father has absolutely no rights at all.
Right, they were never married, just together for a few years. She's not quite sure if it was ever legitimized, since I asked her that last night after reading some other things. She said the only thing done officially was that her daughter was added to the Tabien Baan, and that's it.
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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what sort of rights does the father have in this case?
You said ex-boyfriend rather than husband so I'll assume they're unmarried. In that case, under Thai law (and if the child has not been legitimized, i.e. officially acknowledged as the child of her father), the father has absolutely no rights at all.
Right, they were never married, just together for a few years. She's not quite sure if it was ever legitimized, since I asked her that last night after reading some other things. She said the only thing done officially was that her daughter was added to the Tabien Baan, and that's it.

She'd know if her daughter was legitimized. It involves going to court and a fair amount of documentation. Normally legitimization can only happen after the child reaches the age of 7.

From what you say it sounds like the mother has sole parental rights. I'm not a lawyer but I do know that in Thailand, unless the parents are married or custody has been awarded by a court, only the mother has parental rights.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Legitimization can be done 3 ways
1) Marriage of the father on the BC at any time
2) Juvenile court at any time (not only when child reach 7). Legitimimization will be granted regardless of age (as the child has the right to his father), mother can contest and if she does, then DNA will be ordered (5,000 bath at the police hospital). Legitimization means that the fathers responsibilities as well as rights to the child are legally recognised.
Custody is a different matter from legitimization, 50/50 custody is generally awarded but other options are also possible. In what often is called a custody battle, custody is not really the issue (as child has right to both parents and custody is ONLY removed if the parent is considered a danger for the child), Possession of the child is what it is normally about.
3) At the amphur if all 3! parties agree and the child is approx 7 years old

The mother has sole custody for sure in this case. It should be noted though that Thai Juvenile court does not bias against fathers or westerners either for that matter and I must say that the mother is not in a very good position to do anything. The child is 10 years old and juvenile court will listen to her and take her wish into consideration (that starts at 7 in Thailand, not 12 as in many western countries).

The mother already has sole custody, the problem is that it doesn't matter that much does it? The mother can take the issue to court requiring organised access to her child but what can she get? The child wants to live where she does and she goes to school there, the mother can get weekends or holidays perhaps. She is not going to be allowed to bring the child abroad against the childs and the fathers wish for sure, she can't get a passport for her without the fathers signature either (fathers signature required regardless of legitimization for passports)

How does Thai law work? It works great, it considers the childs best first of all always, it does not bias against either fathers or westerners even. A good parent may not always get everything he/she wants in Thailand but he/she never has to worry about the childs best either

A fairly cheap court case in Bangkok will cost the mother somewhere around 50,000 bath and there is currently approx 2 months waiting time to the first fact finding session, expect 6 to 9 months for final decision (but that can of course vary considerably depending on if the parties can agree or not). A western father should expect 70,000 up to get an English speaking lawyer etc. 100,000 bath is fairly normal actually. It is very important that a lawyer experienced in family law is used for matters like this, many lawyers specialising in business, civil and criminal law know little about family law, bad idea...

Mother is not in a good position at all, sorry to say so but it's a bit late to wake up and try to be a good mother after 6 years

Last edited by MikeyIdea : 08-12-2010 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I definitely agree Mikey and I've honestly been trying to wake her up to that idea, because now she doesn't want to move her child here to Macau, instead she wants to her daughter to live with her Aunt in Ubon.

I tried to be the voice of reason and stated that this is a child not an animal that can just be shuffled back and forth, of course both my wife and her told me I was stupid and that being a farang I had no idea. Their response, "the child is a color and can constantly change to what we want." I replied that maybe a young child but the older they get the harder it is as they become more aware of their surroundings. But I'm just ting tong farang I guess.

Sadly this seems no different than kids being used as pawns during western divorces.
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by drawp
Long story short, this argument led her to want custody of her kid (Not sure if it's genuine love, or just revenge, but that's not my decision).
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now she doesn't want to move her child here to Macau, instead she wants her daughter to live with her Aunt in Ubon.
I think you hit the nail on the head in your OP, this woman doesn't want to be a mother and is in no way concerned in the childs best interest, it's simply spite and revenge with the child used a means to hurt regardless of the childs welfare.

She sounds like a nasty piece of work this woman.
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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have a word with your wife before shes infected with this idiocy and put as much space between you both and the issue as possible
Thai's do the lowest common denominator bit all too easily
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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instead she wants to her daughter to live with her Aunt in Ubon
That's a big no-no that she will not be allowed to do. (Legitimized) father or mother has the right to demand child back from anyone else. Just tell her that the father has the legal right to not allow that

I have a Thai friend who went to court only a year ago regarding custody of his 2 children. He is with the support of Thai law Forcing the mother that if she doesn't take care of the children the 4 days she has them, then she must hand them over to the father. The children can only occasionally sleep with a relative of the mother (without the mother also sleeping there, this inlcudes grand parents), anything more than that and father has the right to demand that the mother let him take care of the child when she can't
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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have a word with your wife before shes infected with this idiocy and put as much space between you both and the issue as possible
Thai's do the lowest common denominator bit all too easily
I would explain Thai law to the wife (to avoid future problems - let her get used to the thought) and also point out that it is implemented the way it is - in the best interest of the child - and therefore apply when father is a westerner too

Then put as much space as possible between myself and the issue
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:42 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Not sure if this changes anything in terms of the law of rights and the recognition of the father, but the father of the kid is a Thai bloke from Chonburi
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Not sure if this changes anything in terms of the law of rights and the recognition of the father, but the father of the kid is a Thai bloke from Chonburi
Does not change anything, the child has a right to his father regardless of he is Thai or farang

The father in this case does not have parental powers (yet) as he hasn't legitimized his child yet but I would omit that little detail , doesn't matter and it is such an easy thing for the father to correct (if he only had known)
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Old 13-12-2010, 11:35 AM   #13 (permalink)
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One clarification: 5,000 bath for DNA is Per Person, not for both
DNA is very rarely needed in custody and legitimization cases, only if the mother states that father named on BC is not the real father (then explain why you put it down please...) or fathers name is blank will it be required.

A non-legitimized father of a Thai child will not be able to get a DNA test done unless the mother agrees to it (at government hospitals anyway, don't know about expensive private ones but I bet it is the same) - The mother has sole custody, if she doesn't agree, then no-go
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