The Thai family law prescribes that both parents must financially support their children (biological or adopted) until the age of 20. While this is rarely an issue in families that are whole, the situation can be more problematic with divorcing couples (or parents that no longer live together).
In this context, the child support represents money provided by one of the parents (either by mutual agreement or court order) that is to be used for the child’s expenses, such as food, clothing, education, medical care etc. Child support ought not to be used for the benefit of the custodial parent.
When couples divorce, the child usually stays with one parent while the other parent pays the child support. However, deciding who gets the custody may not always be straightforward and that is where the court steps in.
Should divorcing parents be unable to reach an agreement on the child support and custody, the court can look into the case and order custodial duties as well as who has to pay the child support and how much.
A different scenario occurs when the child is born outside of marriage. In this case, the father of the child is not bound by law to pay for the financial support, however, court can once again help with determining the legitimacy of the child, child custody and child support.
In the ideal case, parents resolve the custody and support issues in a divorce agreement by specifying all details regarding the custody and support. The divorce agreement needs to be signed by both parents in the presence of two witnesses and subsequently registered with the district office at the time of registering the divorce for validation. Following the agreed conditions is then a must and can be enforced by law.