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Learn more about child custody in the UAE

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00

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Irrespective general law legal principles concerning child custody

Irrespective of the general law and legal principles concerning child custody rights, the UAE laws also allow parents to enter into child custody arrangements of their own. This is a common route chosen by divorcing couples, as it provides them with more flexibility and control to determine the various rights concerning the child.

The factors that are to be considered when entering into a child custody agreement include:

  • Custody Rights: The agreement should record whether both the parents shall retain joint custody of the child or whether the traditional structure will be followed wherein the mother will have the physical custody of the child and the father shall retain the rights as the guardian of the child.
  • Visitation Rights: The agreement should record how the visitation will occur post-divorce. Further, whether a given parent shall have overnight visitation rights or not. It is preferable to have a set schedule for visits that still leaves an opportunity for flexibility, especially on holidays. The main emphasis of such an agreement should be on having access to both parents and being able to spend time with each of them.
  • Financial Obligations: The traditional UAE laws impose financial obligations on the father towards all the requirements such as educational expenses, housing, transport, etc. However, the parents are also free to enter into a mutual obligation to share the costs between them and record the same as part of the agreement.
  • Travel: This constitutes another essential element of the custody agreement, and the parents should determine how the rights concerning traveling outside UAE are to be included. Whether the child is of age to travel on its own, whether both parents have the right to accompany the child for international travel etc. UAE keeps the child’s best interest at the heart of all the legal procedures and practices in the country.

Keeping the same in mind, the emirate of Abu Dhabi has recently enacted a new decree-law on ‘Personal status for non-Muslims in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The new decree now allows parents to retain ‘joint custody of children after divorce. It applies to any non-muslim foreigner, whether it be a male or female, who has his or her domicile, place of residence, or place of work in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and thus comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Abu Dhabi courts. The new changes are intended to safeguard the children's mental and emotional health.

For any legal queries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971526443004 

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