Child custody disputes most times in Thailand will arise out of a divorce in Thailand. It very rarely comes up in any other circumstances. If you are considering a divorce in Thailand then consulate an attorney in Thailand for sound legal advice. Reading the leading newspapers in Thailand, child custody many times ends in violence.
Child Custody in Thailand
There is another time when child custody comes to the fore. This is normally an expat who has a child with a Thai women and they are not married. Disputes with regards to a child born out of wedlock does occur but not as often. Many of these disputes tend to get settled out of court as the mother is the sole guardian and will exercise control over the child as well as parental control. The only time this does come to the fore is when the father believes that the mother is not a good guardian. Only the courts can appoint a new guardian for the child and most times they will look for a local Thai guardian.
This type of litigation is costly as it can draw out for more than a year. The courts will look at either the mother, father of a family member. They will decide what is best for the child. With foreigners it is another issue as you might want to take the child back to your home country instead of living with the child in Thailand. There have been a number of these types of high profile cases in Thailand.
Note that these children born out of wedlock in the event of litigation will need two applications. The first is to legitimize the child. This requires an application to court to be registered as the father of the child. Next application is for full or part child custody. As stated above the Thai Family court will decide what is in the best interest of the child.
With the property laws in Thailand dictating that a foreigner cannot own land, many expats place the land in the name of their Thai wife or child. When the divorce comes along the property might be in the name of a child and this creates new problems as the guardian of the minor child dictates what happens to the property of the child. There are many ways to hold onto property in Thailand such as a usufruct or superficies however many tend to try and take incorrect legal advice which costs them in the long run.
Speak to a family lawyer in Thailand if you require more information. If the child custody is part of the divorce proceedings which it normally is then the custody will be ruled on by the courts during the divorce in Thailand and no separate application would need to be made. The child custody as stated above needs a court application and is a two stage process. Take sound legal advice on these matters before you pursue them.