Child Adoption in Thailand

Child Adoption in Thailand

Child Adoption in Thailand. Thailand, known for its rich culture and warm hospitality, also has a long history of adoption. For many couples and individuals seeking to build a family, Thailand offers the possibility of giving a loving home to a child in need. However, the process can be complex, and it’s important to be well-informed before embarking on this journey.

Who Can Adopt in Thailand?

Thai law prioritizes placing children with Thai families. However, foreign adoption is possible under certain conditions. Here’s a general overview:

  • Married Couples: Must be at least 25 years old with a minimum age difference of 15 years from the child.
  • Single Women: Can only adopt special needs children. The definition of “special needs” can vary, so consulting with an adoption agency is crucial.
  • Same-Sex Couples: Currently, Thai law does not allow adoption by same-sex couples.

Special Considerations:

  • Age of Adoptable Children: The majority of children available for adoption are between 1 and 7 years old and may have special needs.
  • Home Study: A home study by a licensed agency in your home country is mandatory. This assesses your suitability to provide a loving and stable home.
  • Lengthy Process: Be prepared for a lengthy process that can take several years.

Finding the Right Path:

There are two main options for foreign adoption in Thailand:

  • Independent Adoption: This is a complex route and not recommended for most families. It involves navigating the Thai legal system directly.
  • Adoption Agencies: Partnering with a reputable adoption agency with experience in facilitating international adoptions is highly recommended. They can guide you through the legalities, provide support throughout the process, and ensure ethical practices are followed.

Building a Lasting Bond

Adoption is a beautiful way to create a family. If you are considering adopting from Thailand, approach the process with patience, understanding, and a genuine desire to provide a loving home for a child. By partnering with a qualified agency and following the legal procedures, you can embark on this rewarding journey and build a lasting bond with your adopted child.

Additional Resources:


Child Legitimation in Thailand

Child Legitimation is an important process in Thailand that reflects cultural values and legal considerations. It has far-reaching implications for families and society.

In order for a father to gain custody of his child in Thailand, he must first have the child and mother legitimated. This can be done by either a voluntary declaration or a court judgment.

Fathers Have Equal Rights and Responsibilities Over Their Children

In Thailand, fathers have equal rights and responsibilities over their children. This is reflected in the Thai Civil and Commercial Code, Book V: Family, Title II: Parent and Child. However, this does not mean that a father’s name on a child’s birth certificate automatically grants him parental rights.

In order for a father to gain custody, he must complete the process of child legitimation. This is a legal process that involves the mother’s consent and a court’s judgement.

The process is important to the Thai culture as it helps preserve family honor and social standing. It also promotes a strong and cohesive family unit. For foreigners, it can have a significant impact on their immigration status and visa options. For this reason, it is important to have an experienced lawyer assist in the process. They can help you navigate the complexities of child legitimation in Thailand and ensure that your rights are protected. This includes ensuring that your child is registered as your legitimate child at the district office (amphur).

Children Have the Right to Use the Father’s Name

The father of a child in Thailand has the same rights and responsibilities as the mother. However, a father can only exercise these parental powers and custody rights after his filiation with the child is recognised through the process of registration of legitimation or through marriage.

The process of legitimization is a significant legal and social matter in Thailand. It reflects the country’s cultural values and has far-reaching implications for families.

For example, children who have been legally recognised as the father’s are entitled to inherit, use their father’s surname and obtain citizenship or nationality in his father’s country. Children are also bound to be cared for by their parents throughout their minority. This includes providing them with food, shelter and education. Child custody is a complex issue for both married and unmarried couples. It can be disputed over issues such as a separation, divorce or death of the parent. The issue is decided by a judge in court.

Fathers Have Custody Rights

Child legitimation grants legal rights and responsibilities to fathers in Thailand. These include custody, visitation and inheritance rights. It also helps them in visa applications.

If a father wants to have custody of his child in Thailand he must register their legitimacy with the district office with the mother’s consent and upon a court’s judgement. The registrar will notify the mother and child of his application for registration of their legitimacy. She has ninety days to object. She can do so by proving that the child is not his or that she is unsuitable to exercise parental power partly or entirely.

Child legitimation is an important process in Thailand that reflects cultural values, legal considerations and children’s rights. It has far-reaching implications for families and society. The process aims to protect family honor and promote cohesive families. In addition, it carries a social acceptance that is beneficial to children. It will help ensure that children are treated equally in a Thai society where family honor and tradition are highly valued.

Fathers Have the Right to Visit Their Children

In most Western countries, fathers are considered to have equal rights and responsibilities over their children. In Thailand, this is not necessarily the case. According to Section 1546 of the Civil and Commercial Code, if a child is born out of wedlock and the mother is not married to the father, the mother has sole parental powers over the child – regardless of whether or not the father’s name is on the birth certificate.

If a father wishes to gain custody of his child in Thailand, he must first register the child’s legitimation at an amphur with the mother’s consent. However, the mother can oppose the application by stating that she does not agree and that he is unsuitable to exercise partial or full parental authority over the child. In this case, the application for legitimation of the child will need to be petitioned before court for a judgment. This will take a minimum of 60 days or 180 days in case the mother and the child are living abroad.


Child Support in Thailand

Child Support, also called maintenance is not something that normally gets disputed much during divorce proceedings in Thailand. School fees, food, housing and medicine are generally covered by the payment of child support.

In case of a dispute, the court will take various factors into consideration prior to judgment. The courts will consider relative incomes, expenses and assets of the parties involved.


If a child’s father is not named on the birth certificate or he has not undertaken the full legitimization process, then he does not have any legal rights to that child and cannot demand support. Under Thai law, only the biological father has parental rights to the child.

In a divorce case in Thailand the parties can agree to share physical custody and also to deal with the issue of child support (alimony) within their settlement agreement. They can then register this agreement at a district office as a simple procedure within a consensual administrative divorce case.

This was highlighted in a seminar held at the parliament to promote the importance of expanding the universal child support grant to all children under 6. This will ensure that the most vulnerable children receive basic social protection from the state. UNICEF and other partners emphasized that evidence shows that investment in children in their first six years yields the greatest long-term returns for society.


Fathers are required to support their children financially until the child becomes a legal adult. This duty can be established either by agreement between the parents or through a family court ruling. If the mother has a child out of wedlock, Thai law grants her full parental rights unless the father acknowledges his paternity through a process called “legitimation”.

The amount of money a parent must send for their child is usually determined in the divorce settlement. This will be submitted to the district office along with the divorce agreement and will be enforceable once it is registered.

In disputed cases, the court considers relative incomes, expenses and assets to determine an appropriate amount of child support. If a parent’s financial circumstances change, it is possible to petition the court to modify the amount of child support. We often help clients collect and legalize relevant documentation to present in such a case. We can also assist in filing a claim against a noncustodial parent who leaves Thailand and flees back to their home country to avoid paying child support.


Child support is an important part of Thai family law, aimed at safeguarding children’s financial well-being in the event of separation or divorce. The Child Support Act of 1998 provides a legal framework that promotes fairness and equity by considering relative incomes, expenses, and the standard of living of each party when determining appropriate child support payments.

Unmarried biological fathers in Thailand do not have custodial rights for their children, but can request to legitimize the child in a district office and then ask for child support from the mother. Whether the court will grant such requests is dependent on the child’s best interests and the father’s financial capacity to pay.

The Department of Legal Execution enforces child support orders in Thailand. However, it is not a signatory to international agreements like the Hague Convention and it can be difficult for foreign courts to recognise these judgements. This is why it is very important to have a lawyer on hand who knows how to deal with these matters.


Child maintenance or alimony is an issue that will likely be part of any divorce settlement. It can be negotiated and agreed on or it may be ordered by the Thai courts in the event of a contested divorce. It is important to fully understand and consider the ramifications when contemplating either of these options. A family lawyer in Thailand can assist and advise you with the details of your particular situation.

The courts will take into consideration the relative incomes of the parties, their expenses and assets when deciding on a child support schedule. They will also look at the standard of living that the children are used to and your ability to maintain this level of lifestyle.

The Courts in Thailand are not bound to follow the precedent set by Supreme Court decisions or any other court rulings, however, they will be highly influenced by them. All rulings of the courts are published in the Government Gazette.


Child Custody in Thailand

Child custody in Thailand is a complex issue. Under Thai law, the mother has sole custody of children. If the father wants to acquire rights, he must legitimize the child according to section 1566 of the CCC.

It is possible for a man who was married to a woman during or shortly after she gave birth to be considered the lawful father and granted parental rights and duties.

Biological parents

In Thailand, a biological father has no legal rights to child custody unless he is legally registered as the father by taking action for “child legitimization”. This is irrespective of whether he is named on the birth certificate.

If a married couple divorces and wants to share custody, the court will normally make an agreement that is binding on both parties and must be registered at the amphur. This does not work if the marriage was a “no fault” or “default” divorce.

When determining a child custody case the Thai courts primarily use their major policy concern of “the best interest of the child”. This is similar to the usual standard used in most western countries. This is done by assessing among other things the parents behaviour including child development issues through social worker reports. However, these judgments are not automatically enforceable in foreign nations which would depend on their domestic laws.

Joint custody

A married couple may agree to share custody of their child or children. The courts will look at the circumstances and the best interests of the child before deciding on a custody arrangement. In some cases, the court will refer the matter to the Observation and Protection Center (OPC) for a social worker’s evaluation of the family situation and report. The Court will usually follow carefully the recommendation of the OPC.

In Thailand, the term ‘custody’ is not synonymous with “parental powers”, as it can be used to denote physical custody only. The person exercising parental powers has the right to determine where a child lives, demand their return from anyone unlawfully detaining them, and manage their property with certain restrictions.

If a father wants to exercise his custody rights, he must first register the legitimation of his child with the local district office, and the mother must consent. This process is called establishing paternity in Thailand.

Sole custody

Custody is the right to physically guard and care for a child. In Thailand, this means deciding where the child lives and ensuring that it receives a standard level of care. This is a responsibility that can be shared between parents, as long as they follow the principles of Thai family law.

In married couples, a divorce court can enter into a written agreement on custody and visitation rights. This can also include provisions for child support. It is important to consult with a legal specialist to understand the law and to ensure that any agreement meets the requirements of Thai law.

In cases of unmarried parents, the mother has sole custody rights. However, the father can exercise his legal rights if he legitimizes his child by filing a legitimation case with the district office. This is a complicated process that involves both the mother and the father. It can be done along with the divorce proceedings or separately.

Visitation rights

A parent with child custody rights can require that a child be returned to them from another person, or that a child stay with them for certain periods of time. The parents can also agree to share joint parental control. Parents are obligated to provide their children with food, shelter, clothing, and education. In addition, they must keep their children informed of their parents’ whereabouts.

The mother usually has sole custody of a child in Thailand, but the father can acquire rights through a legitimation process. This involves marrying the mother during or shortly after the birth of the child.

Custody disputes in Thailand often occur as a result of divorce. However, in some cases, married parents can dispute custody even though they are not divorced. This situation can be complicated when one of the parents is a foreign national and flees back to their home country to avoid paying child support. This is why a foreign national should seek legal advice before leaving the country.


Filing of Divorce in Thailand

There are times that relationships become irrevocably strained to the point of no return. In such cases, it may be necessary to end the marriage by divorce.

For a divorce by mutual consent, both parties must personally attend at the amphur to file for an administrative divorce registration. This type of divorce is less expensive than a contested divorce.

Marriage Registration

There are two types of dissolution of marriage in Thailand, a contested divorce and an administrative divorce. A contested divorce is typically a court divorce which involves one of the spouses filing a legal complaint with a Thai Family Court in order to bring an end to the marriage based on any ground that would be applicable under the law (link to sections below).

An uncontested divorce on the other hand does not require a definite reason or grounds for terminating a marriage as long as both parties agree to sever their relationship and this agreement is registered with the local register office (amphur or khet). This type of divorce requires the presence of both spouses as well as an interpreter if a foreigner is required to present himself/herself.

If a couple has registered their marriage at any District office then they may also file for an administrative divorce registration at the same office (provided both spouses are in agreement). This procedure will be a quicker option compared to a contested divorce.

Mutual Consent Divorce

If you and your spouse both wish to divorce, this can be done without going through a court case. This is called a mutual consent divorce.

This is a quick and inexpensive option. However, the divorce will not be legally recognized in other jurisdictions including some western embassies. Therefore, we recommend that you always go through the proper contested or uncontested court process.

An contested divorce requires the couple to have a legal ruling regarding the distribution of marital or joint assets and common debts. The court will also make a ruling regarding custody of children and if needed, alimony settlements. A contested divorce usually takes significantly more time, money and physical court appearances than a divorce by mutual consent. It is a good idea for couples seeking divorce to retain a lawyer during this process to ensure they are protected and getting the most out of their agreement. This is especially true when it comes to expats who have children involved.

Contested Divorce

If the parties cannot reach an agreement regarding their divorce or the care of any children, one spouse may file for a contested divorce. This is the legal process of ending a marriage in Thailand and it involves going to court. It is more complicated and costly than the administrative divorce.

The plaintiff must cite one of the grounds for divorce provided under Thai law which include 3 years’ separation, a year of desertion, adultery and failure by a spouse to provide maintenance. The court will then consider the issue and make a decision.

In case of a contested divorce, the court will divide all marital properties between husband and wife according to Thai law which includes real estate, vehicles and other assets acquired during marriage. However, personal property held by a party prior to the marriage remains their sole ownership. For this reason, it is advisable for you to seek professional legal advice to ensure that your rights are protected.

Administrative Divorce

If the married couple agrees to all aspects of a divorce including property division, alimony and custody issues it is possible for them to register an administrative Thailand divorce at their local district office. This process is called a mutual consent divorce and requires that both husband and wife be present for the registration of the divorce. It could be a good idea for the couple to draw up their divorce settlement agreement with the help of their Thai family lawyer before they head to the district office.

It is important to understand that an administrative divorce is not a fully legalized Thailand divorce and the divorce will not be recognized by most countries as valid. A contested divorce is required if one spouse is not happy with the terms agreed to by the couple. One spouse can file a claim for a contested divorce on the basis of lawful grounds such as infidelity, desertion for three years and undue enrichment (Section 1516 of the Civil and Commercial Code). An experienced Thailand divorce lawyer can assist you with this process.

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Marriage in Thailand

Marriage in Thailand follows a legal process that involves several steps and requirements. Here is a detailed explanation of the marriage procedure in Thailand:

  1. Eligibility: Both parties must be at least 17 years old and have the legal capacity to consent to marriage. Additionally, individuals who have been previously married or widowed must provide evidence of the termination of their previous marriage.
  2. Affirmation of Freedom to Marry: If you are a foreigner planning to marry a Thai citizen, you will need to obtain an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry from your embassy or consulate in Thailand. This document verifies that you are eligible to marry and is usually issued by your home country’s embassy or consulate.
  3. Translation and Authentication: Any documents that are not in the Thai language must be translated into Thai. The translations must then be authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand or at your embassy or consulate.
  4. Visit the District Office: Both parties must visit the District Office (Amphur) to register their marriage. You will need to bring your passport, Affirmation of Freedom to Marry, and any other required documents. The District Office will issue a marriage certificate upon completion of the registration process.
  5. Marriage Ceremony: The marriage ceremony can take place at the District Office or at a location of your choice. It can be a simple ceremony with just the couple, witnesses, and an official from the District Office, or a more elaborate celebration. Traditional Thai customs and rituals can also be incorporated into the ceremony if desired.
  6. Registration of Marriage: After the ceremony, the marriage must be registered at the District Office within 15 days. Both parties, along with two witnesses, must sign the marriage register to complete the registration process.
  7. Marriage Certificate: Once the marriage is registered, you will be issued a marriage certificate in Thai. This certificate serves as official proof of your marriage and can be used for legal purposes.

It’s worth noting that the procedures and requirements may vary depending on your nationality and the district in Thailand where you plan to marry. It is advisable to contact your embassy or consulate in Thailand or seek legal advice to ensure you have accurate and up-to-date information regarding the specific requirements for your situation.


Divorce in Thailand

Divorce Under Thai Family Law

Thai Family Law gives couples a few different ways to obtain a divorce. First, contested divorce can be a valid remedy if the couple hasn’t been married for a reasonable period of time. This remedy is also available to couples who haven’t registered their marriage in Thailand but have been living in the country for at least two years.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is an administrative form of divorce under the Thai family law. It is a popular choice among Thai couples because it avoids conflict among spouses and their families. In most cases, couples will decide on the terms of their divorce agreement privately, and only consult a divorce lawyer if they cannot come to an agreement. However, if you live in another country and wish to get a divorce in Thailand, you must follow certain procedures.

A Thai divorce lawyer can help you file for an uncontested divorce. There are many factors to consider when filing for an uncontested divorce. Firstly, the divorce process must be done in person. Usually, the divorce will take place in a district office, which means that both parties must be physically present. On the other hand, a contested divorce will require the two parties to go to court and fight for their divorce.

Child Custody

If you are facing a divorce, you may be wondering if you have a right to child custody. In Thailand, child custody is a legal right. It is one of the main provisions of the Family Code, which governs rights and responsibilities of parents. It states that the child’s well-being and interests are paramount, and parents have an obligation to provide for them.

The father of a child born outside of marriage has a legal right to child custody, but must first legitimize the child. This requires the consent of both the mother and the child. If this is achieved, the father can then apply for joint or sole custody of the child.

Prenuptial Agreement

Divorce can be a very difficult time for both parties, and having a prenuptial agreement can prevent this from happening. It allows you to specify the division of common assets upon divorce. However, you should remember that prenups aren’t the same as a will and should not include spousal support or child support.

Prenuptial agreements can protect your financial security if you are in debt or have a poor financial background. It can also protect your interests if you get divorced. It is a good idea to consult a legal professional to make sure you get a prenuptial agreement signed. It is also important to note that a prenuptial agreement cannot dictate how foreign laws will be used to settle a divorce.

Court Jurisdiction for Divorce Lawsuits

If you’re facing a divorce in Thailand, you will likely need to know where to file your lawsuit. There are two ways to file a divorce in Thailand – administratively, or through the court system. Both processes involve the filing of paperwork at a government District office. A Thai divorce lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and assemble the necessary evidence to protect your interests.

The process of a Thai divorce requires both parties to appear in court. In an uncontested divorce, the two spouses must appear in person. In a contested divorce, the spouse who filed the lawsuit must live in Thailand or have lawful presence in the country. If neither party is present, the spouse may file a divorce complaint through a lawyer.