A breakdown of marriage is always a sensitive matter. It can be even more complicated if children are involved.
So if this happens, who will get the custody of the children as per the UAE law?
With the experience of working with many families for over the years, it is apparent that child custody is one the hardest and emotional thing that the couple’s faces when they are decide to end a marriage.
When people get into the conflict of the custody dispute or a nasty divorce, they tend to choose hatred which can lead to worsening the situation and increases conflict. If they choose to deal with it with hatred, the problem cannot be resolved.
This is the time when to decide to consult with a lawyer to get to know their rights and entitlements for custody.
When I start mediation to reconcile between the parties, my aim is not to come out of that meeting to win but to but to hear from the parties and to decrease their conflict as much as possible. My first advice to them is not to split the children and secondly to look after their best interests. 90% percent of the cases are resolved amicably but we have also a number of cases where the parties choose not to agree to write the settlement agreement or does not work due to other reasons such as a party being outside of the country. In this article, I want to share a few things I know:-
1. First of all, UAE courts are accepting the cases and application from citizens and residents or if the marriage has been registered here in UAE courts.
2. We have a Muslim and non-Muslim category for family case registrations.
3. The parties can agree if they do not want the Sharia ’a law to apply and insist to proceed according their home country law. While if the father has a different nationality than the mother, in this case the court can decide whether Sharia law will apply or the law of the father’s home country.
4. In accordance to Sharia’a law, the mother shall have the right of her children‘s custody in case of dispute over the custody unless the judge decided otherwise for the child’s interest. The guardianship over the minor children is granted to the Father which shall include safekeeping, managing and investing his property. It shall be the duty of the child’s father to handle his affairs, correct, guide and educate him.
5. As per Article no. 146 of Federal Law No. (28) of 2005 On Personal Status; the right of the child’s custody shall be awarded to his mother, then to mahram women, provided that maternal relatives shall have precedence over paternal relatives, that the closest relative on the two sides shall be considered except the father in the following order, and that the judge shall consider the child’s interest when he decide his right;
a) The mother.
b) The father.
c) The grandmother, from the mother’s side, and upwards.
d) The grandmother, from the father’s side and upwards.
e) The sisters, giving preference to the full sister, then to the stepsister from the mother’s side, then the stepsister from the father’s side.
f) The daughter of the full sister.
g) The daughter of the stepsister from the mother’s side.
h) The aunts from the mother’s side, in the same order as the sisters.
i) The daughter of the stepsister from the father’s side.
j) The daughters of the brother in the same order as the sisters.
k) The aunts from the father’s side, in the above order.
l) The mother’s aunts from the maternal side, in the above order.
m) The father’s aunts from the maternal side, in the above order.
n) The mother’s aunts from the paternal side, in the above order.
o) The father’s aunts from the paternal side, in the above order.
6. If parents are not exist and the persons entitle to custody reject it, the judge shall choose a suitable person from the child’s relatives or others or a qualified institution for such purpose.
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