Pregnancy And Child Support / Maintenance
When it comes to these two issues, the absolute best advice that I can give is "wrap that rascal" – because if you become a Daddy you can end up paying for a minimum of 18 years. Don't think that you will be getting off the hook by going back to the US of A, Australia, New Zealand, Germany or wherever you might hail from in the free world.
At the current time in Thailand, child support is primarily awarded in the event of a divorce. The laws can be interpreted to include de facto relationships as well as the proverbial one night stand, no matter how many times you "stood up" during the session. Regardless of all the legal jargon and technicalities, at the current time, the enforcement of child support in Thailand is a rather hit and miss proposition, but you can expect that to change over the next five years. Foreigners that remain in Thailand for any reason and under any type of visa plan can expect to bear the brunt of enforcement activities because they traditionally earn more than the average Thai bloke that has a child support order. However, under the current schemes in Thailand, someone that is owed child support can typically lodge a complaint with the local police and the obligor (person that owes child support) can find himself answering to that complaint. The easiest answer is of course to pay.
If you became a Daddy and decided to go back to your home country you are not going to avoid taking care of the child that you leave behind. Many fathers have been successfully pursued in their home countries for child support which is then sent back to the home country of the mother and child.
Here is how it works: Either the public child support office, or a private company will file legal action against you in your home country for a decree / order / judgement of paternity. You get hauled into court, and if you are wise, you will demand a DNA test. You do not have to pay for this test unless the test comes back showing that there is a conclusive probability that you are the father. Typically, the "probability" must be in excess of 96% — higher in some countries. DNA tests do not ever come back with a rating of 100% — typically 99.0% plus. What this means is that 99% (or whatever the "probability" percentage is) of the population is definitely excluded from being the father of the child.
Once the DNA tests are conducted, then your next court date is to establish a child support award. This is where the "shocker" comes — the child support will be established according to the child support guidelines of your country. The economy of Thailand will not be considered at all. All that will be looked at is how much money the mother makes / earns each month. That amount will be converted to the currency of your country.
How much can you expect to pay? Figure an "average" of 20% of your net monthly income — in other words the amount you take home after taxes. For example, if you have a net income of USD $4,000 per month — at today's exchange rate, you would end up paying 31,900 baht each month (USD$800.00).
Think that you can get the child support reduced by tossing in your costs to go and see the child, or to bring the child to your country to visit? It isn't going to happen. The reason is that the courts in your country can not order or require the mother to provide visitation or access to the child because those courts do not have jurisdiction over the mother and child. If you want visitation, or wish to try to obtain custody of the child, you will have to come to Thailand and pursue those issues through the Thai courts.
Thailand is not currently a signatory of the Hague Convention on Child Support. However, over the next few years, they most likely will become a signatory given the new role that Thailand is playing in the world. Thailand is coming under increased pressure from various NGO's and governments around the world to firm up their child support laws.
What are the odds of you getting nailed for child support either in Thailand or back in your home country? Today, the odds are in your favor. However, in 12 to 18 months the odds will probably start changing.
Again – for the best protection – and for the benefit of everyone – including a child that you might bring into this world – wrap that rascal. If you really want a child, then check out any one of the hundreds of orphanages around LOS – you will find thousands of kids that are looking for an opportunity.
GREAT advice about wrapping up, but I wonder about the chances of a Thai woman taking a Westerner to court. With Thais putting a huge emphasis on face, the first thing any defence lawyer would do, would be to put the spotlight on a girl's past and without wanting to be cynical, the fact is that most of these girls making claims are current or former bargirls. Show the girl up to be a right little walking mattress and she'll squeal. Most bargirls know this and dare I say it, the loss of face might be too great, even for the potentially huge windfall they could make.