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child custody advice

How to Get Child Custody

A child custody case is heard in a UAE Federal Court, the involved parties are to obtain legal representation from Child Custody Lawyers in Dubai who can present each of their sides in relation to the legal case or dispute. The Judge decides the case by considering the best interest of the Child. This decision is derived from other factors, such as the mental and physical health of the custodian, the stability of the parents, financial conditions, and a stable environment to the child to name a few.

The Federal Law on Child Custody and Children Rights

  • Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 aims to protect the children’s rights. This is also known as the ‘Wadeema’s Law.’
  • Article 156 of the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 explains that in normal circumstances, the custody of the child should go to the mother until the sons turn 11 and the daughters turn 13 years of age
  • Article 143 of the Personal Status Law describes the conditions required in a custodian.

Getting Custody of a Child in Dubai

Generally, the law grants the custody of a child to the mother. If a child has reached the ‘age of discretion’, the child can then decide and put forward his choice with whether he would want to live with the mother or the father after the separation. However, this can be contradicted if it is against the interests of the child. The UAE law draws various conditions to become the custodian, for the future betterment of the child. Under the Law on Child Rights, the parent that gets the custody of the child must be sane, capable of raising and taking care of the child, must be free from any infectious or life-threatening diseases and must not have any criminal record. The courts also generally consider religion as one of the requirements of a custodian. In some instances where the child is a Muslim (same as the religion of the father), and the mother is a non-Muslim, it may be difficult for the mother to win the custody of the child.

Difference between Child Custody and Guardianship

  • Child Custody is granted to a parent or a non-parent with whom the child will physically reside, the custodian will take care of the emotional and mental well-being and provide a healthy life to the child. Whereas, the guardianship is awarded to the person who will take care of the expenses such as education, finances, medicals, travel, and other areas of decision making.
  • If the deceased father is the legal guardian, then on the death of the father, the mother becomes the custodian, and the guardianship is passed on to the closest male relative on the father’s side. In rare cases, the mother receives the guardianship of the child in the UAE. This can be granted only on the discretion of the Court.

Applicability of Joint Custody in Dubai

Contrary to popular belief, Joint Custody is not offered to the parents in the UAE. This is untrue; Joint custody is offered to parents in rare cases as it is noted in very few cases there is a mutual agreement between parents to share the custody in the UAE. If the parents are willing and decide to share custody with a certain arrangement, the UAE Courts can grant such custody to the parents. The decision for custody in the UAE is governed by the Sharia law, which remains silent about joint custody. Since, the Sharia Law does not explicitly mention about joint custody, granting it does not contradict the law. This concept, although it will be applied to only rare cases and cases that demand the Court to grant such an arrangement.

Understanding Travel Bans on Child Custody

Travel Bans restrict the freedom of movement to another country. Such bans can be applied to the child by the other parent, which restricts the traveling of the custodian with the child out of the Country. If a parent goes against the travel ban, then this could lead to legal issues regarding the custody of the child. In such situations, it is advisable for the custodian to appoint a Family lawyer in Dubai to address the concerns regarding travel ban violation.

Cases that result in Child Custody battle

  • Divorce: It is common for child custody battles to exist as a result of divorce or legal separation. The child custody will be awarded to the parent with whom lies the best interest of the child’s future.
  • Domestic Violence: The UAE laws have set up Child Protection units to ensure the mental, physical, psychological, and moral well-being of the child. In such cases, the Court will grant custody to the parent who will be a beneficial custodian to the child. The custody will be granted with whom the child is safe and can live an emotionally and physically healthy life.

Child Custody Lawyers in Dubai

The process of achieving child custody is often considered complex and can be an unpleasant experience. HHS Lawyers and Legal Consultants aims to help make this process smooth and limit the complications that may arise in the case of child custody. The Family lawyers of HHS can offer a range of services regarding Family Law and can provide you with legal assistance in all situations.

M. Al Khairy, LL.B. is a Senior Partner of HHS Lawyers in UAE. Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on legal drafting, contract drafting, labor disputes, family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Al Khairy also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators. Read more