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December 28, 2017


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UAE Family matters Q&As: can my husband contest my court-granted custody of our children?

Question: My husband entered a settlement agreement with me to give me the custody of our children. Now he wants custody of them and is not accepting the settlement agreement. Can he do that?

Answer: A settlement agreement notarised by court is a registered document. Both parties are bound by the terms of the settlement agreement, including any terms agreed to between the parties regarding the custody of the children.

If your husband has given you custody of the children in the settlement agreement notarised by court, he is bound by that agreement unless there is a material change to the circumstances which he can prove to the court. According to article 110 of Law No 28 of 2005, the right of custody cannot be waived, nevertheless, agreement to certain conditions in the settlement agreement makes the claim more challenging as the court is well within its right to refuse the removal of such clauses from the contract. Hence in the absence of any legitimate change in circumstances which can affect the betterment of the child, chances are that the custody shall remain with you, the mother.

However as mentioned before, your husband is free, under the law to proceed to court with an application for custody of the children based on evidence. The court shall decide this on the basis of the merits of his claims and the settlement agreement.

Question: My husband does not want to co-operate and has not shown up to the Family Guidance committee? What can I do?

Answer: The Family Guidance committee is the first step in divorce procedure. In family cases, the family guidance committee has to issue a No Objection Certificate to proceed with the case in Dubai Courts. The claimant needs to produce their original ID and marriage certificate to the committee. If the marriage certificate is used outside the UAE, it should be legalised and attested for use in the Dubai Courts.

Once the claimant has filed with the above documents, the Family Guidance committee gives a date for the hearing to the other party. At this stage of the process, the husband and the wife are required to appear in person before the committee and cannot be represented by family members or lawyers. If the other party does not attend on the hearing date, the Family Guidance committee might grant one more date before issuing the No Objection letter or Transfer Letter to file the family case.

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