Child custody law in UAE governs the rights and responsibilities of parents regarding the upbringing and care of their children, especially in cases of divorce or separation.
The UAE’s legal framework for child custody is primarily defined by Federal Law No. 28 of 2005, known as the UAE Personal Status Law.
However, recent developments have also introduced changes that impact non-Muslim expatriate residents. This article provides an overview of child custody law in the UAE.
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Child Custody Law In UAE 2023 – Best Legal Consultant Dubai.
The UAE Personal Status Law, applicable to Muslims in the UAE, establishes that the custody of children is typically granted to the mother.
Custody, in this context, refers to the physical safekeeping of the child, including their daily care and needs.
However, the legal or moral custody of the child, which involves major decisions such as education and travel, is controlled by the father, who is recognized as the guardian.
According to this law, the mother is considered the natural custodian of the children. The father’s right to claim custody is limited to specific circumstances.
The father can seek custody for boys once the child reaches 11 years, while for girls, this age is 13. These legal provisions ensure the child’s best interests are upheld in custody matters.
The New Federal Law.
In February 2023, the UAE introduced a New Federal Law covering non-Muslims’ personal status matters, providing a comprehensive legal framework for family-related issues.
This law applies to non-Muslim expatriate residents when neither party wishes to apply their home country’s law in the UAE.
Key changes introduced by the New Federal Law include.
- Joint Custody. Both men and women have an equal right to joint custody of children until they reach the age of 18. Afterwards, the child has the freedom to make their own choices.
- Civil Marriage. The law allows for civil marriages at the federal level, simplifying the marriage process for non-Muslim expatriates.
- Divorce. Parties now have equal rights to request divorce, and the need for mandatory mediation and family counselling has been eliminated. Divorce proceedings can be granted promptly.
- Custody Disputes. Parents can approach the court to decide custody matters in case of disagreement. The child’s best interest remains the primary consideration.
Types of Custody Arrangements.
Under UAE family law, several custody arrangements are recognized, including:
- Joint Custody. Both parents share custody and responsibilities.
- Sole Custody. One parent is granted full legal and physical custody without consulting the other parent.
- Third-Party Custody. In rare cases, custody may be granted to a third party if it is in the child’s best interests.
Conditions for Sole Custody.
For a father to be awarded sole custody of a child in the UAE, certain conditions must be met as specified by law. These conditions include:
- The father’s ability to make sound judgments and provide for the child’s welfare.
- Being of sound mind and having reached the age of maturity.
- Demonstrating faithfulness and loyalty.
- Having the ability to raise and provide for the child, including care and maintenance.
- Being free from dangerous contagious diseases.
- No prior convictions for crimes against honour.
- Sharing the same religion as the child.
- A suitable woman in the house to care for the child, such as a female relative.
FAQs about Child Custody Law in UAE.
In conclusion, child custody law in UAE is based on the child’s best interests, considering age, gender, religion, and personal needs.
While the UAE Personal Status Law primarily applies to Muslims, the New Federal Law has brought significant changes for non-Muslim expatriate residents.
It provides more equal rights and options in family and child custody matters.
The information provided here may not apply to non-Muslim parties.
Starting from February 1, 2023, the UAE has introduced specific family laws for non-Muslim expatriate residents in cases where neither party applies their home country’s law in the UAE.
For expert guidance and legal support in child custody cases in the UAE, Al Mulla Lawyer & Legal Consultant is your trusted resource.