Lets talk about maintenance in Thailand. See the break down of the process and laws when it comes to child custody as well as the related matters in Thailand. It is important to remember that this is only general information and you should take proper legal advice when it comes to divorce in Thailand as well as the process for custody. See also the divorce lawyer on here as well. 


Thai Maintenance Process

Child Custody in Thailand

Parental Power: This is very important as the concept of “parental power” is used instead of “custody” in Thailand. Note that these cover the rights as well as the duties of a parent regarding their child until the child reaches the age of 20.

Married Couples: Parental power or child custody in Thailand is held by both parties who share this parental power. When divorce comes then the question is who gets custody of the children. The court may however also appoint a third person as a guardian. The Thai family court will decide what is best for the child.

Unmarried Couples: Much like the West, the mother automatically has sole parental power over a child born outside of marriage. For the father to share parental power, he must legally legitimize the child.

Factors the Court Considers for Custody

Child Age and Gender: Likewise the Thai family court often gives mothers primary parental power over young children. This is especially true for female children. Likewise fathers may have a higher probability of gaining parental power over older male children.

Child Well-Being: The only real consideration is always the best interests of the children by the courts.

Parent’s Capacity: The parent’s ability is also viewed. The court will take into consideration the environment of the child as well as the income and emotional support that will be needed.

Visitation Rights: The parent who does not have primary parental power generally has visitation rights. That being said that many expats tend to leave Thailand to return home. Many questions arise about these types of arrangements. This mainly as child kidnapping and the Hague Convention on Child Abduction which you can read on here is an issue. These rights can be determined by either:

= Agreement: Parents can negotiate visitation schedules.

= Court Order: If parents cannot agree, the court will define the visitation rights.

Civil and Commercial Code - Maintenance

Alimony/Child Support: The parent with primary parental power has the right to receive child support from the other parent. The Thai court calculates child support based on several factors, including:

• Financial needs of the child
• Standard of living prior to the divorce
• Income and assets of both parents
• Mediation

Many expats who leave Thailand tend yo send back an ATM card from their country so their ex-wife can draw the money in Thailand each month. This is easy to do and the cost will only be the ATM fees unlike transferring money with SWIFT from aboard which is more complicated.

You will note that the Thai courts strongly encourage divorcing parents to consider mediation to resolve custody, visitation, and support matters. Mediation provides a setting to work out disagreements amicably and often leads to better outcomes for the child.


Section 1598/38

Who Gets Maintenance and How Much?

Imagine you and your parents (or a married couple) are going through a tough time, and someone needs financial support to cover basic needs like food and housing. This is where maintenance comes in. It’s basically money given by someone who is legally obligated to (like a parent or spouse) to someone who needs it (like a child or spouse).

However, you can’t just claim maintenance automatically. You can only ask for it if:

• You haven’t received any at all, or
• The amount you do get isn’t enough to live comfortably.

So, how much maintenance is considered “fair”? A judge will decide this based on two main things:
The person paying’s ability: This basically means how much money they make and their overall financial situation. Think of it like, “Can they afford to help?”

The person receiving needs: This includes your cost of living and any special circumstances you might have. For example, if you have a medical condition that requires extra care, this would be taken into account.

In the case below.

Note that even though both parents had an income, the father (defendant) also has a wife and another child who depend on him financially. There is also the responsibility to support his child from the previous relationship. Likewise there is also his current family. Therefore, when deciding the child support amount, the court will consider the father’s income. This along with the expenses of his entire family. On top of that, the child’s age and education level will also be taken into account to determine the appropriate support amount. Supreme Court Judgment No. 1605/2534


Section 1598/39

What Happens if Things Change?

Life can be unpredictable, so what happens if either person’s situation changes? For example, maybe the person paying loses their job, or the person receiving needs more support due to unforeseen circumstances. In this case, the judge can adjust the amount of maintenance paid, or even stop it completely. It all depends on the specific situation and how much each person’s circumstances have changed. Likewise see also the case above as it explain the changing family and marital status of parents.


Section 1598/40

How is Maintenance Paid?

Usually, maintenance is paid in regular payments, like cash or direct deposits. But this isn’t always the case. The people involved can agree on different ways to pay, like checks or money transfers, as long as everyone involved is okay with it.

In rare situations, especially when it comes to child maintenance, the judge might decide on other forms of support instead of money. This could be things like paying for your education or vocational training, which could be super helpful if you have specific career goals but lack the financial means to achieve them.
We can see in the following case under Section 1598/40 as well as 1598/41.

The issue is alimony or maintenance. This payment is money paid to a former spouse after a divorce. Basically, these laws say that the amount of alimony someone pays can be changed under certain circumstances. Let’s say the court initially ordered someone to pay maintenance. Later on, if the situation changes for either the person paying or the person receiving the money, the court can change the alimony amount or even get rid of it altogether. The family court could make the payments higher, lower, or maybe even stop them completely. Supreme Court Judgment No. 4685/1997


Section 1598/41

Your Right to Maintenance is Special

Here’s an important thing to remember: the right to receive maintenance is a special right. This means you can’t give it up, trade it, or have it taken away by creditors (people you owe money to). It’s like a guaranteed right to basic support if you qualify according to the law.


Civil and Commercial Code - Custody

There is an entire article on here under the name Rights and Duties of parents and children. You can read the full article on there as it falls under the Civil and Commercial Code as well. The following are important sections in the law.

Section 1563

Children are obliged to support their parents.

According to the newly revised Civil and Commercial Code, Section 1567(3), both plaintiffs who exercise parental power have the right to have their children do work appropriate to their status, and Section 1563 stipulates that children must support and care for their parents. Therefore, the business or labor that children do for parents is a form of support and care. Supreme Court Judgment No. 1990/1983

Section 1567

Parental power includes rights such as determining the child’s residence, discipline, assigning chores, and custody.

This matter shows the issues with a single mother. The man (defendant) and woman (plaintiff) in this case were never married. Now because of that, the man isn’t the child’s legal father and doesn’t have custody rights or parental power as they call it in Thailand. This simply means the man isn’t allowed to keep the child since he doesn’t have the right to do so. Now because of this, the woman took him to court to return the child. Supreme Court Judgment No. 3461/1998


Having Children in Thailand

If you have children in Thailand then child support as well as child custody in Thailand become important. Likewise there is the how to obtain child custody in Thailand as well.  There are a number of situations such as a divorce by mutual consent as well as a child that has been a legitimated child as a single parent. Also take time to speak to a Bangkok divorce lawyers at a Thai law firm. Speak to us online.