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family law


July 27, 2018



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UAE family matters Q&As: can a child choose which parent should be their guardian in a divorce?

Question: My parents and I are Asian Muslims who moved to the UAE 10 years ago. Recently, my parents have been arguing a lot and have decided to divorce. I am a high school pupil and would like my mother to be my guardian as she has more time to take care of me. My father does not have a problem with my mother being my custodian but he disagrees with the idea of her being my guardian. Can I choose my mother to be my guardian despite my father's wishes? Do I have the right to choose who will be my guardian?

Answer: According to article No. 181 of the UAE Personal Status Law No. 28 of 2005 guardianship shall be granted to the father, not to the mother. The cannot be granted guardianship even if the father agrees. If the court decides to take guardianship away from the father, it must be granted to another male person in the family. In your case, this could be your grandfather or, if he is unavailable, one of your uncles.

Based on your case, your father does not want to relinquish guardianship and the court does not have the right to take it away from him either. In any possible outcome, however, your mother will not be granted guardianship of you.

Question: My husband and I are residents of the UAE and we have two children. I have been living with my husband in his family home but he has had a lot of financial cases filed against him. He was arrested and jailed a long time ago and his lawyers say he will not be released for another few years. I filed for divorce and custody of our children and moved out of his family home. I need to get my children's documents (Emirates ID, true copies of their passports and insurance cards) from my husband's family. But they refuse to give them to me, despite my husband being in prison. What would you suggest I do?

Answer: You have the right to file a legal case to get these documents handed over to you. If the case is won, you will need to proceed to the execution department of the court to get the judgment carried out and you will be able to receive the documents.

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