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.