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February 25, 2016

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Family Matters Q&A: Can I Claim Custody of Child?

Question: I waived my right to custody in a settlement agreement but now I want to claim custody of my child. Can I?

Answer: A settlement agreement is a legally-binding contract on both parties and any breach of the same is an offence and punishable under the law. The custody of children is an inherent part of the settlement agreement.

But, according to Article 110 of Law No. 28 of 2005, the right of custody cannot be waived, and can be claimed on the basis of the best interest of the child. Nevertheless, by accepting certain conditions in the settlement agreement makes the claim more challenging because the court is well within its right to refuse the request of the claimant.

Question: I am 'being informed' by a judge that my spouse will 'be informed' via publication. What does that mean?

Answer: If the respondent could not be notified, the judge will adjourn the hearing to allow a publication to be made in the newspaper. A publication is an advertisement made in a UAE-based newspaper requesting that the respondent make contact with the court within a certain period. The publication can be made twice in Arabic and/or English, or in Arabic only if the respondent is an Arabic speaker. The cost of the publication must be borne by the claimant. If the respondent does not contact the court within the time period, the judge may order that a further advertisement be published in the newspaper. Certain investigations and searches in all official records shall be done prior the newspaper publication.

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