The UAE government has taken major steps forward when it comes to the protection of Child’s rights and custody in accordance with its mission to protect children and safeguard their rights in the UAE. Our expert Dubai ProConsult Family Lawyers will guide you through the entire cycle of a matrimonial proceeding considering the emotional aspect involve which can be sensitive and requires more than the application of the law.

Parents love for their children are beyond measures and you would witness during a divorce settlement where both spouses; the father and the mother fight for the Custody of their children. The UAE law plays an important role when it comes to awarding the Custody of children under wedlock. The UAE Courts neither allows custody to the father or the mother unless and until it would be in the “Best Interest of the Child”.

In principle, the law that governs Child Custody in the UAE is rooted in Shariah Law principles and takes into account the modern necessary changes required for todays need. The applicable law in relation to the child custody in the UAE is Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 also known as the (Personal Status Law) referring to Articles 142-158.

The provisions relating to child custody gives exclusive discretion to the court to award custody so far as the court can reject the claims put by the parents and grant the custody to a child by taking into account the safety, security and the child’s future.

A salient feature of the Child Custody law that it distinguishes between a Custodian and a Guardian. A guardian of a child provides for the financial support of the child, making decisions as to the child’s education and generally to oversee the affairs of the child. Whereas, the custodian will address the child’s daily affairs of nurturing him or her while having actual and physical custody of the child. Generally Custody is granted to the mother and the guardianship is granted to the father. However, it all depends on what is in the best interest of the child which will be arrived by the Court.

Another  development in children’s rights in the UAE is the child protection law, namely Federal Law No 3 of 2016, also called the Wadeema’s Law, which guarantees all the rights of the children and protects the child from discrimination based on origin, gender, status, nationality, religion, social status or disability. Article 7 of the Wadeema law states: “the child shall have the right to life and security” and, “the State shall guarantee the child’s growth, development and law”.

Furthermore, the Law also imposes fines and imprisonment on the parent who neglects the affairs of the child, leaves the child without supervision, who does not enroll the child in school or fails to register them upon their birth. The Law prohibits child labor as children can only commence working upon attaining 15 years of age and bans any such illegal working conditions which will harm children’s health, physiological, moral and mental integrity.

Moreover, in a recent development, as a progressive and groundbreaking move, the United Arab Emirates introduced Federal Decree Law No. 41 of 2022 on Civil Personal Status for Non-Muslims in the UAE. This law brings transformative changes to the divorce landscape for non-Muslim expatriates in the UAE.

Notably one of the most significant changes under this law is the approach to child custody. Child custody is a joint and equal right of both parents after divorce. The child’s best interests are prioritized, reducing the negative effects of divorce on children. Joint custody ensures shared parental responsibility, offering children the opportunity to maintain meaningful relationships with both parents. However, should differences arise between parents regarding joint custody, either parent can seek court intervention to resolve these matters in the child’s best interest.

Our Proconsult Family Lawyers are adept in light of the UAE Child Custody Law and we seek to bring about the best legal support required for the spouses during their tough times specially during a period of divorce which can be tiresome and stressful.