We understand that you have a child with an unmarried Thai woman and your name is recorded as the father of the child on the birth certificate. You would like to apply to the Court for legitimization of the child. You will also conduct a DNA test this week, in order to establish paternity.
Under Section 1547 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code (“CCC”), a child born of a woman who is not married to a man is deemed to be the legitimate child of such woman. While the birth certificate may indicate the identity of the biological father, it does not bestow parentage rights on the unmarried father. Therefore, it is the unmarried mother who has sole legal custody over this child under Thai law.
The grounds for the Court to grant legitimization are contained in Section 1555 of the Civil and Commercial Code as follows:
1. Where there is a rape, abduction or illegal confinement of the mother during the period when conception could have taken place;
2. Where there has been an elopement or seduction of the mother during the period where conception could have taken place;
3. Where there is a document emanating from the father and acknowledging the child as his own;
4. Where it appears in the Birth Register that the child is a son or daughter of the man who notified the birth, or such notification was made with the knowledge of the man;
5. Where there has been open cohabitation of the father and mother during the period when conception could have taken place;
6. Where the father had sexual intercourse with the mother during the period when conception could have taken place, and there are grounds to believe that he or she is not the child of another man;
7. Where there has been a continuous common repute of being a legitimate child. The status of continuous common repute is established by means of facts showing the relationship of father and child, as evidenced by the child’s connection with the family to which he claims to belong, such as the fact that the father has provided the child’s education or maintenance, or that he has allowed the child to use his family name, or other facts.
Although you already have proof that you are the father of the child, the case might be more complicated, and it would prolong the court proceedings, if the mother of the child does not consent to the legitimization.
Once the petition is filed with the Court, you will have to meet with the Juvenile Observation Officer (“JOO”). The meeting with the JOO must be scheduled within 14 days from the date of filing the petition, though the meeting does not have to be held within that 14 days. In practice, we would need to wait at least one week before contacting the JOO to schedule the meeting, because they will not likely have received the documents from the court before that time. Following the meeting, the JOO will have to prepare their comments and send them to the Court seven days before the first hearing. The Court will schedule the first hearing between 45-60 days from the filing date.
With regard to the court proceeding, it is likely to take three to six months to obtain the court order, provided the mother of the child consents to the legitimization.
If you succeed in the application to the Court for legitimization, you can go to the District Office and register the legitimization. You would also be able to apply to the Court for custody or visitation rights in the event that this cannot be agreed with the mother of the child.