Category Archives: Thailand Family Law

Hague Treaty Child Abduction Thailand

The Hague Convention on Child Abduction allows for claims by parents who have had their child abducted. The Thailand Child Abduction Act is the domestic law that allows for an aggrieved parent to enforce his rights to have his or her child returned to their country of residence.

For more information watch the full video where Chaninat & Leeds discusses the Hague Convention on child abduction in Thailand and it’s implications.

Current issues regarding Thailand family law are important for families that cross borders due to having different residences or due to business travel.

Related Journal:

Protecting Vulnerable Children in Thailand

Surrogacy in Thailand: Laws and Regulations

In the wake of the recent surrogacy scandals in Thailand, there has been much speculation and confusion regarding what current laws and regulations are in effect in Thailand for surrogacy and related procedures.

This report is an overview of the current applicable laws and medical regulations for clinics and doctors in Thailand. This report is also intended to shed light on possible future Thailand laws with regard to couples seeking surrogacy and the surrogate mothers.


Medically assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are relatively new developments in medical care services. Assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization, gamete intrafallopian transfer, and surrogacy, have provided new opportunities for couples seeking to have children who would otherwise be unable to. Although ART procedures have advanced at a dramatic pace, the laws regulating these technologies have lagged behind.

Thailand has recently experienced a boon in assisted reproductive medical services, including commercial surrogacy services, mostly aimed at foreigners who are often referred to as “medical tourists.” The sudden rise of Thailand-based businesses offering ART services can be attributed to three main factors:

  1. New restrictions on commercial surrogacy in India that has severely curtailed commercial surrogacy in that country. This has led to a migration of service providers from India to Thailand, as well as opportunities for existing medical clinics in Thailand to expand their services to include commercial surrogacy.
  2. The lack of an explicit law regulating commercial surrogacy and assisted reproductive services in Thailand. This has resulted in a “gray area” for clinics providing these services in Thailand.
  3. An abundance of Thai women willing to act as surrogates and egg donors.

Rules Governing Medical Clinics

Thailand’s Department of Health Service Support (HSS) held a news conference on Tuesday, August 26 to clarify applicable regulations of all medical clinics and doctors, including those performing surrogacies in Thailand, and to specify penalties clinics and doctors can face if found guilty of violating the applicable regulations.

Medical clinics in Thailand are governed by the Sanatorium Act B.E. 2541 (1998). For a clinic in Thailand to operate legally, including those providing ART and surrogacy services, the clinic must abide by the rules and regulations put forth in the Sanatorium Act.

According to HSS, there are three sections of the Sanatorium Act government officials are employing to prosecute those clinics and doctors found to allegedly be illegally licensed and/or involved in illegal surrogacy procedures (based on Medical Council regulations):

  1. Under Section 65, any licensee or manager who violates or fails to control and supervise the practitioners in the clinic to perform their duties under the laws on medical practices shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding one year, or to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand Baht, or to both.
  2. If a person engages in an ART or surrogacy business without a license from the grantor, which is set by the Ministerial Regulation, that person can face imprisonment not exceeding one month, or a fine not exceeding two thousand Baht, or both under Section 56.
  1. Under Section 49, a clinic providing ART or surrogacy services can be closed and a practitioner’s license can be revoked if it appears that the licensee or the manager fails to comply with the Sanatorium Act. According to the HSS, clinics found providing and engaging in surrogacy procedures are being shut down for 60 days, pending an investigation.

Furthermore, the HSS announced that injured persons of any clinic that has, to date, been shut down, can send a letter to the Medical Council and the council will review and determine the morality of the doctors allegedly involved in any injuries and take disciplinary actions.

Rules Governing Medical Practitioners

Medical practitioners and physicians are regulated by the Medical Council of Thailand and the regulations the Council puts forth. The Medical Council has two announcements with relevant regulations regarding ART and surrogacy services. These regulations establish basic standards concerning ART, which licensed practitioners must adhere to.

The first Medical Council regulation on surrogacy and ART, issued in 1997, stipulates that to lawfully provide and perform any procedures related to assisted reproductive technologies and surrogacy, practitioners in Thailand must obtain a license from the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The second notification regarding assisted reproductive technologies, issued in 2002, further specified the rules for surrogacy that doctors in Thailand must abide by. Some of the notable surrogacy regulations include:

  • A medical practitioner can only use an embryo from the intended parent’s gametes for a surrogacy by a woman who is not the wife.
  • No compensation must be made in return to the woman who gets pregnant instead of the couple in a manner that may be understood as hiring one for pregnancy.
  • The woman who carries the pregnancy on behalf of the couple shall be a relative by blood of either party of the couple.
  • Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis may be conducted for certain disease determinations as deemed necessary and appropriate and it must be an act which will not be construed as gender selection.

Existing Medical Council regulations are administrative rules for the Medical Council, a professional organization regulating the conduct of its members. These regulations do not penalize women who act as surrogates or intended parents who pursue surrogacy in Thailand, but only prohibit women from acting as surrogates if they do not meet the Medical Council standards.

The Draft Surrogacy Act

Although a series of sensational news stories concerning abuses of commercial surrogacy in Thailand has brought the necessity of a comprehensive legal regime to regulate commercial surrogacy and assisted reproductive technologies in Thailand to the forefront, in actuality, there has been a draft law regarding commercial surrogacy and ART since 2004. However, the Parliament has not yet acted on passing the draft law into official legislation.

Now, as a result of the current importance of the issues of commercial surrogacy and ART in Thailand, the Thai government and professional associations have renewed efforts to make the Thai draft surrogacy law official.

According to the Bangkok Post, Chatree Pinyai, the Ministry of Public Health’s legal department director, said it would be impossible to enact new laws within three weeks but “the law will be put into place by the end of the year.”

Despite the Ministry’s statement that a law will be in place by the end of the year, there is still some disagreement concerning the content of the draft surrogacy law, and there is no certainty that the law will be in effect by the end of 2014.


Related Articles:

Clinic Under Investigation in Thailand-Australia Surrogacy Case

Thailand Closes Surrogacy Clinics: New Law May Ban

New Draft Law to Regulate Surrogacy in Thailand

Becoming a Surrogate Online: “Message Board” Surrogacy in Thailand


Related Legal Documents:

Thailand Draft Surrogacy Law – unofficial English translation

Thailand Medical Council Surrogacy and IVF Regulations – unofficial English translation

Thailand Sanatorium Act

Thailand Surrogacy Lawyers


Related Videos:

News Conference on Thailand’s Draft Surrogacy Laws, Department of Health Service Support – Thai language news coverage

Adultery Will No Longer Be A Crime In New Hampshire

The USA Today, reports that the New Hampshire state Senate voted on Thursday 17 April 2014 to repeal its anti-adultery law, by sending the bill to the Governor Maggie Hassan, who is thought likely to sign it into law. Under the present law, a convicted adulterer can be punished with a fine of up to USD 1,200.

“States’ anti-adultery laws are rarely enforced, a vestige of our country’s Puritanical beginnings”, says Naomi Cahn, a law professor at the George Washington University Law School.

States with anti-cheating laws generally define adultery as a married person having sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse.

Adultery is not a criminal offense in Thailand, but it can be used as a ground to divorce a cheating spouse. Adultery is also a civil offense in Thailand meaning that an adulterer can be sued in Civil Court by an aggrieved spouse.

Read the full article here 

Related Video


US Court Orders One Year Deadline on Hague Child Abduction

Thailand Child Abduction

Photo by Gavinaz

The US Supreme Court unanimously ruled on 5 March 2014 that the Hague Convention on Child Abduction’s a one year limitation providing for automatic return to the child country of residence , may begin to run even though the non-custodial parent may be unaware that the child has been abducted reported The Washington Associated Press.

The Hague Convention on child abduction states that a child must automatically be returned to its home country within the first year of residing in a foreign country. The Supreme Court ruling will provide a shorter window for the aggrieved parent in a custody battle to demand the automatic return of a child pursuant to the one year time period as defined by Convention.

The Hague Convention is an international convention between member nations that agree to abide by its terms. Nevertheless, the provisions of the Convention would, in general, need to be enacted in each member nation’s domestic laws. Further,  a member nation may interpret or modify its duties, as enacted in its domestic law in accordance with the legal system of that nation’s interpretation of the Convention.

In this instance, the Supreme Court’s ruling means that the one year period, after which US judges may have more discretion to deny the request for the return of an abducted child pursuant to the Hague Convention, may expire more quickly. and thereby prejudice the parent requesting the return.

The US Supreme Court’s ruling will not have a direct effect on most child custody cases in Thailand. However it may have an effect on cases in where a child is abducted from Thailand and brought to the USA and the Thailand based parent requesting the return pursuant to the Convention has exceed the one year period.

Although Thailand, along with the USA, is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Thailand has only recently enacted internal domestic law to enforce the terms of the Convention pursuant to the Thailand Child Abduction Act.

Read the full article here.

Related Video:

Related Document:

Thailand Child Protection Act

Related Blog Post:

Thailand Child Abduction Law

US Dad Forced to Pay 26 Year Old Daughter’s Law School Tuition

Photo by Jeff Hester
Photo by Jeff Hester

Opposing Views recently reported that an American father had been ordered by an appeals court to pay half of his 26 year old daughter’s $225,000 law school tuition fees.

The father, Mr Livingston, agreed to pay half of his daughter’s tuition fees in a divorce settlement in 2009. His daughter then asked him to honor the agreement in 2012 when she was accepted to attend Law school. Mr Livingston responded that he would pay $7,500 and only if his daughter lived with her mother and attended a Law school of his choice.

Mr Livingston’s estranged wife filed and won a lawsuit against him in 2012 demanding that he honor his child support agreement. Livingston recently appealed against the court’s ruling stating that he should not have to honor the divorce agreement because he has become estranged and that he had no involvement in the choice of her Law school.

Mr Livingston may have prejudiced in this decision because of the child support settlement agreement he previously signed. Had there been no signed agreement the Court may have ruled that child support should end when a child reaches the age of emancipation. Chaninat and Leeds Thailand child support attorneys state that in Thailand, the majority (emancipation) age is 20 years old. In US Courts the age of emancipation can vary but is usually considered to be between 18 and 21 years of age. However, in some cases child support obligations may be extended until college graduation.

Read the full article here.

Related Video:

Related Blog Post:

Reversal of US Divorce Ruling Concerning Child’s Education