In Thailand, fathers have equal rights and responsibilities as mothers over their children. However, this is only true if the father is married to the mother or has been legally recognized by the court.
If a child is born out of wedlock, the father must register for legitimation at the local district office. The child and mother must express consent to the application for legitimization.
Fathers have equal rights and responsibilities as mothers over their children
A father’s name on a child’s birth certificate does not automatically establish paternal rights in Thailand. In order to get those rights, the father must undergo a process known as legitimization.
In Thailand, a father can legitimize his child by filing an application with the local district office. The child’s mother and the father must express consent for the application. If the mother or child do not appear in person to express their consent, the application will be rejected.
The court will then determine whether the father is fit to exercise parental power and guardianship over the child. Once the court’s decision is final, it can be registered at the amphur. In the event that a father is not satisfied with the court’s decision, he can request an annulment of the registration. This can only be done within three months of the registration being made public. This is a complicated process and it is best to consult with a lawyer before proceeding.
Children have the right to use the father’s name
It is important for a father to legitimize his child as it will give him legal rights and responsibilities over the child. This can include custody, visitation and inheritance rights. It may also help with immigration and visa applications.
Children are bound to maintain their parents (Clause 1563 CCCT) and can only be deprived of parental power when they are sui juris or old enough to earn their living. However, if the father and mother are not married and a child is born, the father does not get any parental powers unless he was declared as the father in court and was granted the rights and obligations by the court.
If a man thinks he is the father of a child and wants to be considered as having custody rights or even to use his name, he can submit an action for legitimization at a local Amphur. However, he will need to have consent from the mother to bring the action.
Children have the right to protection from child abuse
Children in Thailand need to have a robust system of child protection that will protect them from violence, neglect and abuse. This requires that specialised expertise is available at community level to be able to identify and refer children to services, including for treatment and support.
This also includes ensuring that those responsible for children’s welfare, whether they are police, government agencies or NGOs, have the knowledge and skills to effectively address child abuse and ensure that it is prevented. This can be achieved by improving the training of child protection actors and incorporating international standards into child protection policies.
Finally, it is vital that a child’s right to protection from child abuse and neglect is guaranteed by having clear laws and effective prosecution of offenders. This will require a change in attitudes and beliefs about the use of violence against children, including a clear distinction between child abuse and discipline. The Government should clarify and implement the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Children can report abuse
A large number of children in Thailand are victims of physical or sexual violence, and many go unreported. The lack of infrastructure and support services, in particular at the local level, limits children’s ability to report abuse and ensure their safety.
In rural areas, many people still believe that the use of physical and verbal abuse for child discipline is necessary and acceptable due to religious beliefs and social norms. In this context, the aim of this study is to explore the relationship between knowledge and attitudes about corporal punishment and common mental disorders and substance/alcohol abuse in a community sample of young Thai people.
In order to address the issue, ActionAid is working with local partners to train and establish a network of local social work focal points with child protection expertise and accountabilities. This would involve ensuring that every sub-district office (or tambon administration office) has a social worker who can detect and respond to children at risk of or suffering from abuse.