The Thai Family Code clearly states the duties and rights of parents and their children in their relationships. A child born of a marriage in Thailand or born within 310 days of a marriage termination is deemed the child of the married parties. The mother of a child born outside of a marriage receives full custody, and the father does not receive any rights to the child before legitimizing his parenthood via a court order or the consent of the mother filed at the provincial government. Although a parent can be stated as the father of a child on the child’s birth certificate, it does not grant him any legal rights over the child.
Individuals who are legally established to be the parents of a child receive parental rights, and the child will be under the parental control of the individuals until they reach the legal age in Thailand. A person is deemed an adult in Thailand at the age of 20 or at the time the child gets married. Parents have obligations and rights to the child until such time.
Parent Rights and Duties
A parent’s primary right is to determine the place of residence of the child, while their primary obligation is to raise the child reasonably. Raising the child appropriately involves the right to teach the child a particular religion, implement disciplinary measures, require moderate work from the child, and demand the child’s return from any person who unlawfully detains them. A child’s parents also have the right to manage their property reasonably, while children have the obligation of caring for their parents when they reach adulthood.
Parents are subject to certain limits regarding their rights over a child. Parental control must be exercised reasonably, and parents are prohibited from entering into contracts using the child’s name that would cause them to be subjected to lease agreements, mortgaging, and debt.
Parents are further prohibited from forcing a child to do certain things that are unlawful, and they may not risk the child’s safety under any circumstances. The parental duties and rights a parent has over a child cannot be transferred to an external party but can only be transferred or revoked through court action. In the absence of an adoption, step-parents have no legal rights over a child that is not biologically their own.
Child Rights and Duties
Children have the right to use the name of the father, and in the case of an unknown father, they may use the mother’s name or that of the closest relative. All children in Thailand have a right to education, food, shelter, clothing, and care provided by their parents.
If a child cannot adequately care for themselves, parents are obligated to provide them with care even after they reach adulthood. Unless a public prosecutor initiates a civil or criminal court case, a child cannot sue their parents.
Moreover, a child may not transfer or renounce their maintenance rights, and in the case of a divorce or separation, the child is entitled to maintenance and basic necessities. A child can only sue their parents if the parent refuses to provide them with basic necessities and maintenance.