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December 10, 2018

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Bringing a child to the UAE - when you can't find your husband

Question: My husband and I divorced 10 years ago and I haven't seen him since. I moved to Dubai and would like my daughter to live with me. What needs to be done to let her come stay with me in the UAE? Is there a way to bring her here without my former husband's consent, since I don't know where to find him?

Answer: Under UAE law, women are awarded custody of their daughters up until the age of 13. They are also granted custody of sons until they turn 11. This stipulation holds unless the court decides it is in the child's interest to live with the mother until a son turns 18 or until a daughter is married. Personal guardianship priority is given to the father while the mother has custody over the children.

For your child to live with you, you will require the following: consent from your former husband or a court order providing you with custody rights for your daughter.

Because your former husband's whereabouts is not known to you, the court will need to ascertain whether you have been granted custody of your child by a court in your home country.

If you do not have consent from your former husband or court-mandated custody you will need to apply for the right to custody in court.

Your case can be taken to court only if your employment visa has been issued in Dubai, granting you resident status under Federal Law Article 6, which says jurisdiction applies if: "the action concerns a personal status matter and the claimant is a citizen or a foreigner having a domicile, residence or workplace in the state if the respondent has no well-known domicile or residence abroad, or if the national law is to be applied in the state".

Accordingly, you can apply for custody under the aforementioned provision of the Personal Status Law.

Upon receiving the custody judgment, you can keep custody of your child in the UAE and complete the necessary formalities for sponsoring your daughter to live with you.

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