July 14, 2012
Source: Thailand Family Law Center
Child abduction or “child kidnapping” cases typically occur during a child custody dispute, when one parent flees a legal jurisdiction with a child to avoid the jurisdiction of a particular court. International law and Thailand family law may come into play when a child is abducted from a foreign country and taken to Thailand or when a child is taken from Thailand to a foreign country, or when a child is abducted by a parent within Thailand.
Q: What should I do if my child is abducted and taken to Thailand?
A: The first thing a parent must do if a child has been abducted is to contact a qualified Thailand family law attorney and make a police report. A qualified attorney will assist with filing the necessary complaints with legal authorities. Based on the circumstances of each case, a family attorney may file a police report with the relevant embassy in Thailand, or file a formal request pursuant to the Hague Treaty. A Thai Family Law Attorney can file a court complaint with the Thailand family court. If criminal charges are involved, a criminal complaint may also be required.
Q: Can the Hague Convention on Child Abduction be used in Thailand?
A: The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction provides a procedure for parents who have had their children abducted by the other parent. The Hague Treaty on Child Abduction is executed through the governments of treaty member countries, but normally requires an attorney to file the appropriate documents with the government authority responsible for the retrieval of the child.
Thailand has formally acceded to the convention; however, at this time the proper procedures for acting upon the convention have not been codified into Thai law. This means that the convention, falls into an ambiguous area of Thailand law. In certain cases of child abduction originating in Thailand, wherein the child has been taken to a different that is a Hague connection signatory, a Hague Convention action may be filed through the relevant government authorities of the country. However, in cases where a child has been abducted and taken to Thailand, the aggrieved parents’ remedy may be through obtaining a court order from the Thai family court. Cases need to be examined individually.
Q: What is the procedure for retrieving a child who has been taken to Thailand?
A: In order to retrieve a child that has been abducted by a parent in Thailand, the parent who is seeking the return of the child must established custody rights of the child in Thailand Family Courts. A court order of sole custody can then be used by the aggrieved parent to obtain the return of the child. Such action can be enforced by Thailand court and police officials. Depending on the circumstances, a police complaint may also be necessary.
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