Thai Laws on PaternityThe relationship that is established by law between a father and his child is called paternity. Paternity in Thailand is presumed in a valid marriage. Therefore, a child born out of a valid Thailand marriage is considered the legitimate child of the husband.
Paternity in Thailand is established only by marriage, court action, and government registration. Other than these three methods, a man is not considered the father of a child. Further, the rights and responsibilities of a father are provided in Book V: Family, Title II: Parent and Child of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code.
Child Born Out of Wedlock
Automatically, a child born out of wedlock is an illegitimate child. Consequently, only the mother can claim legitimate rights over the child. On the other hand, the father's rights over the child are not automatic even if the father acknowledges the child as his.
A man who signs the birth certificate of a child born out of wedlock means only one thing, that he is the biological father of the child. It does not mean though that he is the legal father of the child. As a consequence, the man who signs the birth certificate of a child could not be required for child support.
If the biological father wants to establish a legitimate relationship over the child, he must marry the mother of the child, register the child as his, or file a court action to that effect. A court action is also required to determine the legality of the support claim.
It is to be noted, however, that marriage between the mother and biological father of the child does not automatically make the child legitimate. Only a marriage that is recognized under Thai laws or validly celebrated in a foreign country operates to make a child legitimate.
Child Born Before or After Finality of Divorce
When a child is born out of a valid marriage, legitimacy is presumed. Clearly, marriage creates presumption of legitimacy. Divorce, on the other hand, creates legal complications.
When a child is born before the finality of divorce, the child is still legitimate. The husband is considered to be the legal father of the child even if the woman is impregnated by a man other than him.
If the child is born after a divorce decree has been issued but within 310 days from the termination of the marriage, the child is still legitimate. The former husband is still considered the father of the child. The presumption is created by law.
Repudiation of Paternity
If a man believes that he is not the father of a child born by his wife or former wife, he may repudiate the legitimacy of the child. Repudiation of legitimacy is also the remedy if a man is required to give child support.
The putative father may request a Thai court to conduct a DNA testing. The test is administered by the Thai authorities at his expense. He may also provide proof of the impossibility of cohabitation with the mother of the child within the 310 days before the birth.
Until the father has proven non-paternity over the child either by DNA testing or proof of non-cohabitation with the mother, the child is considered his child. It is only the court which can rule on the repudiation and no other.
If a father doubts the paternity of a child, it is best to engage the services of a lawyer for legal guidance on the matter. The issue on parentage is a complicated matter which requires the expertise of a lawyer.
© 2000-2011 David G. Arganian, all rights reserved.