Everything You Wanted to Know about Child Custody Laws in Dubai

In a resurrecting approach, the UAE has come with a new Wadeema law with regards to child custody laws in Dubai. As per this new humanitarian law, the presence of psychologists and social experts at the court sessions and hearings will be made mandatory so as to understand all the aspects of the child custody case. This will further help the judge in taking the final decision that is justified on moral grounds as well.

The new child protection law has already been put to practice since July 2016 when the Sharjah Sharia Court asked the judges presiding over child custody cases to take the law into account. The new resolution was issued by Judge Salim Ali Mattar Al Hosni, Chief of Sharjah Court, pursuant to Article 39 of the UAE’s Child Protection Law No 3, which clearly mentions that the child’s physical and mental state & interests should be the only criteria taken into consideration while deciding upon a child custody case.

The Court also asked the judges to submit a detailed report of the social, psychological and criminal status (if any) both of the persons demanding custody of the child and the one who will be granted custody.

By considering the psychologists and social experts’ opinions, the child’s rights will be rightfully protected while granting the child custody.

When child custody disputes arise between any couple who are migrants in the UAE, either married to an UAE or non-UAE citizen, can file their child custody cases in the UAE court.

Federal Law No. 28 of the year 2005 regarding the Personal Statuses Law (articles 142-158) is in accordance to the children matters. And according to the above mentioned law the custody of the child is determined by the court in the best interest of the child.

In order to earn the custody, the applicant must fulfill a list of requirements

  • Applicant must have mental stability
  • Applicant must be honest
  • Applicant must have reached the age of 21
  • Applicant must have the ability to take care of the child
  • Applicant must not have any infectious medical history
  • Applicant must not have been committed a serious crime

Legal measures that specify the custodian

  • Custodian must be of the same religion as of the child
  • Custodian if the mother should not re-marry
  • Custodian if the father should have a family female relation with a child who can be the care taker next to father

The custody legally ends when the child if boy turns 11 and if girl turns 13. And if the child wishes to extend this period the court then can give the consent till the boy reaches the age of discretion and the girl gets married.

In most of the cases, the mother is usually awarded the child’s custody. And if the court finds the mother “incompetent,” custody of a child can be given to the father or child’s maternal grandmother or any immediate relative who is capable of taking care of the child.

As per lawyers in Dubai, lack of awareness about UAE laws can result in divorce. In one such case, the dispute is of the custody of a 14-year-old girl. Since she is matured enough so as as per the UAE law, she cannot have automatic custody or any guardianship rights over her by any of her parents.

However the father has an alcohol problem, thus posing a serious risk to the girl’s safety.

The daughter has also expressed her fears about her father’s violent outbursts when she is around. The mother, on the other hand who has sought legal advice to find a way out, has been advised by her legal experts to submit an application to the court mentioning her husband’s drinking habits and violent behavior as a reason to hand over her daughter’s custody.

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