family law

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March 17, 2020

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Child custody - does the wish of the child factor in?

Question: I am a divorced and have been granted custody of my children by Dubai courts. My eldest son is 15 and his father now wants to claim custody of him. Can I challenge this on the grounds that my son wants to stay with me?

Answer: The court may review the father's custody claim in light of the best interest of the child and provide its decision on the custody of the child. The mother has the right to challenge the father's custody claim and ask the court to extend her custody. As per Article 156 of the UAE Personal Status Law, the court may, if it deems appropriate in the best interest of the child, extend the mother's custody of the boy child until he reaches maturity. Furthermore, the court could also appoint an expert in child psychology to meet the child and prepare a report to be submitted to the court, which could be used in assessing the best interest of the child.

Question: My ex-husband and I divorced two years ago. We have a four-year-old son and we agreed that he would visit him twice a week. Although there was no agreement on child support, he occasionally paid Dh1,000 per month towards child maintenance. His monthly salary is more than Dh30,000 and he spends it on himself while I struggle to make ends meet bearing all the expenses for our child. Moreover, my son has told me his father was abusive towards him during one of his visits, which affected my son psychologically.

Answer: The father is the guardian of the child and he is obliged to provide maintenance to the child, such as schooling, groceries, accommodation, maid and related expenses. You may file a case against him to claim child maintenance support from him. Moreover, you may also request the court to allow you to supervise the child when he is exercising his visitation rights. To discuss about how to register your maintenance case and additional request to the court, you may need to consult a lawyer practising family law.


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