Child custody after divorce in the UAE: what you should know | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged process, made even more challenging when children are involved. In UAE, child custody decisions are made with great care, taking into consideration both legal and cultural factors. Understanding how child custody works in the UAE can provide divorcing parents with clarity and guidance during this difficult time.

Child Custody Under UAE Personal Status Law for Muslim Parents

For Muslim parents in the UAE, child custody is governed by the UAE Personal Status Law. Here are the key points you should be aware of:

  • Parental Capability: In child custody cases in the UAE, the court assesses each parent’s ability to provide a safe, stable, and nurturing environment for the child.
  • Child’s Age and Gender: Child custody arrangements in the UAE are influenced by the child’s age and gender. Typically, mothers are granted custody of male children up to the age of 11 and female children up to the age of 13.
  • Religious Compatibility: Muslim mothers need to share the same religion as the child unless the court decides otherwise in the child’s best interest.
  • Marital Status of the Parents: Remarriage, mental incapacity, or a criminal felony conviction on the part of the mother may lead to a change in custody, with the father becoming the custodian if he can ensure the child’s well-being.
  • Agreement between Parents: Courts in the UAE value agreements between parents regarding custody arrangements. If both parents agree on custody arrangements that are in the child’s best interest, the court is more likely to approve them.
  • Child’s Preference: While the child’s preference is considered, it’s not mandatory for the court to follow their wishes, especially if it’s not in their best interest. The child’s age and maturity level influence how much weight their opinion carries.
  • Abuse or Neglect: Concerns of abuse or neglect can lead to the court appointing a committee to investigate the situation, ensuring the child’s safety.
  • Court Discretion: UAE courts have significant discretion when making custody decisions, allowing them to adapt arrangements to unique circumstances while always prioritizing the child’s welfare.

Child Custody Under Federal Decree-Law No. 41/2022 for Non-Muslim Parents

Non-Muslim parents in the UAE follow Federal Decree-Law No. 41/2022, which emphasizes joint custody:

  • Joint Custody: This law places a strong emphasis on joint custody, with both parents sharing equal responsibility for raising the child after divorce.
  • Exceptional Cases: Joint custody can be reconsidered if one parent poses a threat to the child or fails to fulfil their custodial duties. In such cases, the court can modify custody arrangements, always keeping the child’s best interests in mind.
  • Court Intervention: When parents disagree on custody matters, either parent can submit an application to the court for resolution, ensuring that the child’s best interests are the primary consideration.

Child Custody Under Abu Dhabi Law No. 14/2021 for Non-Muslim Parents

  • Joint Custody: Custody in Abu Dhabi is viewed as a joint right of both parents after divorce, to raise the child with equal involvement from both parents.
  • Dispute Resolution: Disagreements regarding joint custody can be brought before the court, which will decide what is in the child’s best interest.
  • Child’s Preference: If a child is 12 years or older and wishes to remove one parent from joint custody, they have the right to do so, provided it is in their best interest.
  • Grounds for Termination: Joint custody can be terminated if one parent exposes the child to danger, fails to meet their responsibilities, or poses a risk to the child.

In conclusion, understanding child custody in the UAE, whether you’re Muslim or non-Muslim, is essential when facing divorce. These laws aim to ensure that children have a stable and nurturing environment, even in the challenging context of divorce.


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