Child Legitimation in Thailand

Child legitimation is a legal process that establishes the paternity of a child born outside of marriage, providing the child with legal rights and recognition. In Thailand, the legitimacy of a child is governed by specific laws and procedures. This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on the intricacies of child legitimation in Thailand, outlining the legal framework, processes involved, and the significance of legitimation for both parents and the child.

Legal Framework

The legal basis for child legitimation in Thailand is primarily outlined in the Civil and Commercial Code. According to Thai law, a child born out of wedlock does not automatically have a legal relationship with the father. Legitimation is the process by which the child’s legal status is recognized, granting them the same rights as a child born within the confines of marriage.

Voluntary Legitimation

Voluntary legitimation occurs when both parents agree to establish the legal relationship between the father and the child. This process involves the father acknowledging paternity, and both parents submitting a joint application to the district office (Amphur) where the child resides.

Key Steps in Voluntary Legitimation:

  1. Acknowledgment of Paternity: The father must formally acknowledge paternity at the district office.
  2. Joint Application: Both parents submit a joint application for legitimation, providing necessary documents such as identification, birth certificates, and consent forms.
  3. Legalization of Documents: In some cases, documents may need to be legalized by the embassy if either parent is a foreign national.
  4. Registration of Legitimation: Once approved, the legitimation is registered, and the child’s birth certificate is updated to include the father’s name.

Involuntary Legitimation

In cases where the father is unwilling to acknowledge paternity, legitimation may be pursued through the courts. The mother can file a legitimation lawsuit to establish the legal relationship between the child and the alleged father.

Key Steps in Involuntary Legitimation:

  1. Filing a Lawsuit: The mother initiates legal proceedings by filing a legitimation lawsuit at the juvenile and family court.
  2. Evidence and Testimony: Both parties present evidence and testimony to support or contest the paternity claim.
  3. Court Decision: The court reviews the evidence and issues a decision on whether to grant legitimation based on the best interests of the child.
  4. Registration of Legitimation: If the court grants legitimation, the ruling is submitted to the district office for registration.

Significance of Legitimation

  1. Legal Rights: Legitimation grants the child legal rights, including inheritance rights, the right to use the father’s surname, and access to benefits and privileges available to children born within marriage.
  2. Social Standing: Legitimation provides social recognition and acceptance, reducing the stigma sometimes associated with being born out of wedlock.
  3. Emotional Well-being: Knowing and having a legal relationship with both parents contributes to the child’s emotional well-being and sense of identity.


Child legitimation in Thailand is a process that goes beyond legal recognition; it establishes a foundation for familial bonds and societal acceptance. Whether pursued voluntarily or through legal proceedings, legitimation is a significant step towards ensuring that a child born outside of marriage enjoys the same rights and privileges as any other child. Navigating the legitimation process may involve legal complexities, and seeking professional advice is crucial for both parents involved. Ultimately, the goal is to provide the child with a secure legal framework that reflects the reality of their parentage and fosters a healthy family environment.

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