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September 07, 2017


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UAE Family Matters Q&As: Can I Leave My Wife and Bring My Daughter to Live in the UAE?

Question: I live with my wife and 1-year-old daughter in Pakistan but I want to leave my wife and bring my daughter with me to live in the UAE. I would like to know though: do I have to get my wife's permission to do this?

Answer: This is not a wise move as to separate your child from her mother at such a young age would be considered illegal in the UAE. UAE law gives the mother custodianship of children until age 11 for boys and 13 for girls, so your wife would have the option to file an urgent court order to gain custody of your daughter and the court would most likely grant such a request. Another option available to the mother, in line with article 329 of the Penal Code, would be to apply for a custody court order, which, once obtained, would then allow her to file a criminal case against you for child abduction.

Question: I've been married to my husband for five years and we're both from Asia. Unfortunately, I've caught him several times with another woman. He has been cheating on me for a long time. I just want to end this and get a divorce but I also want custody of my children. What can I do?

Answer: To file for divorce you must have proof that your husband has been having affairs, this may be in the form of private communications, photographs or witness testimony, for example. As described in the Q&A above, in general an ex-wife gets custody rights until a boy turns 11 and until a girl turns 13, so if your children are younger than this you would most likely get custody of the children in the event of a divorce. It is also possible for the judge to use discretionary powers to grant you custody of the children even if they are older than the ages mentioned. If you were able to prove that your husband had committed adultery, you would get custody of your children regardless of their age, according to article 143 of the Personal Status Law.

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