Different Facet of Child Custody Laws in the UAE

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Published: 30th April 2020
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The dissolution of marriage is a legal procedure that may not coincide with the emotional tearing apart. Divorce is typically a painful process for most couples. While it can take adults time to regain psychologically, one needs to stay prepared for fighting a battle for the custody of the child/children. Different jurisdictions have different solutions to the issue; let us learn more about child custody laws in the UAE according to Sharia.

If you come across a child custody dispute, you should be familiar with the basic aspects of child custody laws in the UAE and have an understanding of how the process works. Unless you fully understand, keep in touch with a qualified child custody attorney who is good in family law. The most important aspect of dissolution of marriage or divorce is the custody of the children. Many couples brawl over the custody of their children after divorce. However, according to UAE Sharia Law, upon separation of the spouses, the mother is the one who is mostly granted the custody of the child if she is fit to as per condition set by law.

Conditions of Custody Eligibility Article 143 of UAE Personal Status Law specified general conditions the custodian needs to fulfill, whether male or female listed as follows:
Being of sound mind, honest, capable of raising the child, matured adult, caring for and attending to the child under custody, free of serious infectious disease, and should not be sentenced to an honor crime.

The aforementioned conditions, therefore, indicate that child custody will not be granted to:
• If the person’s sickness renders him/her incapable of taking care of the child, or is too old to manage the child's personal affairs, or has an infectious disease, that would affect the child under custody.
• If the person is sentenced with a serious crime; for example, rape, immorality and adulterous.
• If the person is mad or insane and needs a guardian to protect and care for them, are not eligible to be guardian of others.
Article 1/144 of Personal Status Law indicated two additional conditions a woman must achieve be eligible of custody, which are:
First Condition: Not having a spouse alien to the child custody who consummated their marriage, unless the court ruled against that for the best interests of the child under custody. This is because an alien spouse mostly hates his wife's child. Similarly, the article does not indicate whether a custodian must be a mother or not.
Second Condition: To have the same religion of the child, unless the court rules against that for best interests of the child under custody, on a condition that custody period shall not exceed five years, whether the child is male or female.

The second clause of Article 144 indicates three additional conditions a man must achieve in order to be granted child custody, and they are as follows:
1. To have a woman fit to be guardian of the child.
2. To have similar religion of that of the child.
3. To be Muhrem to the child if the child is female.

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