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Legitimizing a Child in Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

In this video, we're going to be discussing so called legitimization of children in Thailand. In many sort of common-law jurisdictions and in other Western jurisdictions, the notice of legitimacy with respect to children is somewhat sort of legally passé if you will. It's sort of an anachronistic notion within jurisprudence and in jurisdictions that utilize say, the common law specifically in the United States, the jurisdictions I've dealt with respect to academic studies as well as practical experience, there really is no current notion of legal legitimacy if you will, with respect to children.

All children are born of the same classification if you will. Some of them stems from things like the notion of equal protection under the U.S. Constitution, the notions of privileges and immunities of the United States citizenship, the 14th Amendment's citizenship clause. Basically at some point in about the past 120 years, it was decided that legally especially in the United States they weren't going to differentiate between so-called legitimate and illegitimate children. Under Thai law of legitimacy remains of a legal issue, the marital status of the parents of a child at the time the child is born does have bearing on the issue of legitimacy. Now from the standpoint of the child, it's largely irrelevant. The child is not born sort of hampered in any way with respect to their legal rights under Thai law by the end of their “legitimacy” or otherwise.

But that being said, it does create some issues with respect to parental rights especially with respect to fathers who have not undertaken the process of legitimizing their children, who are born to a Thai national here in the Kingdom of Thailand. And this can have sort of knock-on effects with respect to things like child custody in Thailand etc. For this reason, the legitimization process may need to be undertaken with respect to a child born in Thailand especially where that child is born with Thai mother and the father is not mentioned on the birth certificate or has not undertaken the full legitimization process with respect to the legal status of that child.

It also should be noted that the marital status of parents at the time of the child's birth here in Thailand can have a rather substantial impact with respect to so-called CRBAs or consular report of birth abroad issued by the U.S. Embassy here in Thailand. A CRBA is essentially like a birth certificate issued to an American born abroad and provides the bearer of such a certificate with the right to go ahead and obtain a U.S. passport. It's essentially approved with U.S. citizenship. As noted in other videos, U.S. citizenship can be transmitted automatically pursuant to U.S. statutory law.

That being said, if one's child is not born within so-called wedlock nor has that child been legitimized, that may create issues with respect to the process of getting a CRBA. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the ultimate outcome but in many cases, U.S. State Department officials who are adjudicating matters pertaining to consular report of birth abroad, it matters where the father is not on the birth certificate or was not married to the mother at the time of the child's birth, the U.S. officer may require further documentation with respect to proving up the paternity most importantly, they're probably asked for DNA test. This can be somewhat time consuming, a little bit more costly.

So for a lot of different reasons, legitimization is a significant issue with respect to family law here in Thailand and those who are interested in undertaking the legitimization process are well advised to contact legal professionals for assistance in the process especially if the father, usually the father in question is a foreign national here in Thailand. It's probably a good idea to go ahead and have not only a Thai professional assistance but the ability for foreign attorneys who can explain the process to the foreign national also assist in such a proceeding.