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How to Legitimize a Child in Thailand

A child born out of wedlock is considered an illegitimate child of the biological father. The biological mother, on the other hand, maintains a legitimate relationship with the child. Also, the biological mother alone has parental custody over the child.

In Thailand, the biological father of an illegitimate child is given by law the right to raise the status of his child from illegitimate to legitimate. This right is provided under the Thai Civil and Commercial Code.

Legitimation of a child in Thailand is the act of providing legitimacy to an illegitimate child. An illegitimate child can be legitimated in any of the following ways:

1. By a subsequent marriage between the biological father and mother of the child
a. The marriage between the father and the mother must be registered. Upon registration of the marriage, the father must inform the registrar of the existence of the child. The marriage certificate will include a statement that a child has been legitimized by reason of such marriage.

2. By registration upon application by the biological father
a. This is also known as administrative registration whereby the father applies for the legitimation of his child with the local district office. Both the mother and the child must consent to the legitimation. If the consent is not obtained within 60 days from filing of the application or if an objection has been raised to the legitimation, the father cannot register the legitimation administratively. The father has to file a petition for legitimation with the court.

3. By court judgment
As provided under the Thai Civil and Commercial Code, legitimation of a child may be granted by the court only if any of the following grounds is proven:
a. The mother of the child was raped, abducted or illegally confined by the father of the child during the period when conception could have taken place;
b. The mother of the child was eloped or seduced by the father of the child during the period where conception could have taken place;
c. A document emanating from the father shows that he acknowledged the child as his own;

d. The father notified the birth of the child to the birth registrar, and his name as the father of the child appears on the birth certificate of the child, or such notification was made with the knowledge of the father;

e. Evidence proves that the father and the mother of the child openly cohabited during the period when conception could have taken place;

f. Where 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;

g. There are facts showing the relationship between the father and the child such as the fact that the father has provided the childís education or maintenance, or that he has allowed the child to use his family name.

Any of the above ways of legitimation may be resorted to by the biological father. In legitimizing a child, consultation with a Thailand lawyer is advised. This is to avoid the complexities involved in the process. The biological father should at least consult with a lawyer to enlighten him of the legal consequences of having a child legitimated.

This article was provided by Siam Legal, an international law firm with offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Phuket, and Samui. Siam Legal publishes legal guides to legitimizing children in Thailand on its website.

Siam Legal International
Interchange 21 Building, 23rd Floor, 399 Sukhumvit Road
North Klongtoey, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Tel: 662 259-8100

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