Child Custody & Guardianship Rights under UAE Family Law

Posted by Hassan Elhais on July 17th, 2015

Do the vast deserts, enormous skyscrapers and the bustling cities of the United Arab Emirates attract you? In reality, they actually obscure the comprehensive legal system that accounts for the everyday workings of life. People living in the country better understand the ins and outs of the system. One area of law unknown to many residents across the globe is the custodial aspect of family law in UAE. Like many other countries in the world, at the end and most important goal in custody battle is the best interests of the child.

Let us explore more on the concept. The separation between custodian and guardian, mother and father, and husband and wife may seem complex at first, it is important to note that the main question of concern is: what are the b est interests of the child? Child custody and guardianship refers to the legal and practical relationship between a parent and his/her child, which includes complete care and decision making on behalf of the child. An important facet of custody laws in the UAE is the different roles assigned to mothers and fathers, being the ‘guardian’ or ‘custodian’. A guardian of a child is responsible for financially maintaining the child, upbringing, making important decisions about the child’s education, and generally taking care of the child’s affairs.

In divorce cases, spouses usually fight over the custody of the child, and normally it is mother who wins the case till certain age of child which is 11 for boys and 13 for girls. Though, the courts of law are only concerned with the child’s best interests, custody would be withdrawn from the mother if she is deemed ‘unfit’ to be the main caretaker of the child. In order to retain the custody of the child, the mother should fulfill a list of obligations, including being of sound mind, mature, capable of raising a child, honest, free of infectious disease, and must not have been sentenced to a serious crime. If a parent does not fulfill any of the aforementioned conditions, the laws indicate that the child must be placed in safe hands and with the one that will seek the child’s best interests.

Although, divorces and custody battles are messy, the comprehensive laws in the U.A.E. attempt to consider as many situations as possible, and it is essential in their practical use to center the issue on what is best for the child. For example, Article 156 of the Federal Law No. 28 of the year 2005 (UAE Personal Status Law) states that the custody of a child should go to the mother, until 11 years of age for a boy and 13 years of age for a girl. In that same clause, the law sets out that this circumstance can change if the court determines something else is best for the child. It is clear that legally and practically, the goal is the same - custody is awarded to the parent that best fits the needs of the child’s best interests. You can seek guidance from a professional family lawyer in UAE for further details.


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Hassan Elhais

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Hassan Elhais
Joined: July 15th, 2015
Articles Posted: 41

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