Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights?

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Divorce in UAE - what are a father's custody rights? Apr 09, 2012
I am a UAE non-national resident, Christian and the sponsor for my wife (who is the same). We were married in the UK 3 years ago, and came to Dubai 10 months ago.

She wants a divorce. We have 3 children. Only the youngest is mine, a daughter aged 18 months. My wife wants to leave for the UK asap. I do not want her to take my daughter and I am worried she will do this while I am unaware.

How can I stop my wife doing this? More importantly, how can I win custody of my child and keep her in the UAE where her future is much much brighter? She will go back to the life we had in the UK which believe me, is far less rosy than the future I can provide for her here.

Please advise where i can get professional help here. Internet browsing has proven fruitless and confusing.

Thank you.

Irishjay
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 09, 2012
Irishjay ,

So sorry to hear about your situation. You need to get in touch with a lawyer ASAP. Is the passport for her and the child with you or does she have possession? She can't travel without a passport. If they are in her possession, I believe you can put a travel ban on her and the child. The UAE generally favors the father when it comes to custody of children, but then again, it may have something to do with the grounds for divorce, I'm not sure.

I know this will seems odd, but there is a forum expatwoman.com where you can search and read all the posts. Generally it has to do with women wanting custody of the children which involves a custody battle. If necessary you can even create an account and post your situation. There are some very informed women on that forum who can probably point you in the right direction. Don't worry, they won't turn on you. Hopefully you don't recognize your wife being a member!!!

Good luck to you.
Bora Bora
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 09, 2012
Bora Bora ,



Appreciate you taking the time to respond. I have my little girl's passport now. I found it only one hour ago. I will put the travel ban on tomorrow (anyone any advice as to how to do this / where to go please respond if possible). I contacted a law firm called Expatriate Law but all lawyers were out of the office. I'm hopeful of a response tomorrow.

Back in the UK and Ireland husbands and fathers receive little or no support so I would prefer to settle this out here. Such a shame.
Irishjay
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 10, 2012
Just to add, many times a mother cannot take children out of the UAE without the fathers permission, so you can contact immigration and make them aware, that if she turns up, she does not have your permission to leave with the child.

Given that you were married in the UK, a divorce and all the wranglings would have to go through the UK courts, it's doubtful they would touch it here. A friend went through this with his ex-wife and he won custody of his daughter.

As Bora says, have a loom at expatwoman as they'r very helpful. Be very very careful with taking and keeping the passport, your wife could accuse you of trying to hold the child or kidnapping - the worst thing you can do is get the authorities involved here. Try and keep it amicable.

ETA: unless you have adopted the oldest two children and are seen in the eyes of the law as their legal guardian, I don't think you have a right to stop them leaving.
Chocoholic
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 10, 2012
Thank you for the advice. I'll have to proceed with compassion and caution I guess.
Irishjay
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 10, 2012
Just remember to put the children first, as they are the ones most affected when relationships break down and sadly the parents often for get that! The last thing you want is them resenting you.
Chocoholic
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 10, 2012
I agree 100%. My sole focus is on the wellbeing today and forever of my daughter. She alone is at the forefront of my mind.

No matter what way we cut it, I wish things were different. I am due to see a reputable lawyer today, so thanks for all the advice.
Irishjay
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 10, 2012
Sorry to hear about this stressful and sad situation, good luck Irishjay!
kanelli
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 10, 2012
Kanelli - thank you.

--- Apr 14, 2012 ---

I have received legal consultation from an expatriate law firm and from the Dubai courts themselves. There is a consistent message and there is a way forward for the father in this country thankfully. We don't have to lose out and be the ones to suffer. Should anyone else be in a similar situation and wish to avoid the substantial costs I have incurred then I'm happy to pass the information on.
Irishjay
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 16, 2012
Irishjay ,

I would like to be in touch as I am going through a very similar issue and am not really sure where to start. Are there any online resources that I can begin with or can we discuss via email or through Dubai Forums. Apologies for being so forward, but time is not on my side.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

JC.
JohnnyC
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Re: Divorce in UAE - what are a father's custody rights? Apr 17, 2012
IrishJay,

Hi sorry to hear about your situation mate me also pretty much experiencing the same difficulties- so understand the stresses.
My Wife has been to Dubai courts of late and is on the "war path" her intentions are for divorce here in Dubai. She intends obtaining custody of our 5 year old daughter, based on the fact that under UAE the laws give small children under age of nine (daughters) to mothers.
She then intends to return to a country where she is also an ex-pat, where our child and I originate.

I am not against the divorce as she suffers from depression and alcohol abuse and this has been a long term problem in our marriage but I am not for her leaving Dubai with our child and jobless..

Will be certainly keen on talking to you about your findings at the moment.
Arcus
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 17, 2012
Arcus, I think you already have your case sewn up given the info you've written. If she is an alcoholic and suffers from depression then you can have her assessed to see if she is capable of looking after your daughter. Seeing as she is wanting to go through Dubai courts - they will take a very dim view of the alcohol abuse.
Chocoholic
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 20, 2012
Arcus - here is my response to JC when he e-mailed me directly. It may also apply to your situation. If you want more help then e-mail me privately through this forum.

____________________________________

JC,

I can contact you early next week if you are available with alot more detail. However, in short:

I went to see the Family legal councellor at the Dubai Courts. He was a terrific local emirati and advised me that I need to have the following documents:
1. attested marriage certificate (mine is attested from UK, but must also be done from UAE)
2. attested birth certificate of my daugther (again i have to get it attested by UAE)
3. daughter's passport and my passport.

Documents 1&2 had to be translated into Arabic. Once this is done then i could put a ban on my wife travelling with my child. She would be stopped at the airport. He then said that if i file for divorce, i could cancel my wife's visa and if she did not find a job / sponsorship etc within 30 days she would have to leave the country and could not take my baby with her.

This all seemed too simple, so i then spent 1,600 aed on an hour's consultancy with a top expatriate law firm. The lawyer took me through lot's of variables, lot's of pro's and cons for divorcing in UK, in UAE etc. I am happy to fax to you all my notes from that session.

However - when i asked her where are my chances best of keeping my child, she re-iterated exactly what the Dubai Courts said. Get the travel ban processed asap, keep hold of passport, file for divorce here (doesn't matter who instigates and it takes approx 1 month), cancel visa & wife has to leave, keep child, UK courts have no jurisdiction to take child back. But be very cautious about going outside UAE to visit home etc...!

I'm happy to take you through more detail at any point.
Irishjay
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 23, 2012
Dear readers, for your information only.

ARCUS paid Dhs1000 for lawyer (twice that of my ex-home countries top dogs!) for consultation to discuss matters pertaining to divorce and custody issues, mainly effecting ex-pat,

Custody issues:

He advises that the honorable courts shall not provide custody to a father, nor infavor of fathers to be awarded custody. Fathers will not recieve custody of children unless:

:!: Sons age 9 years and daughters age 13 years.

:!: The mother re-marries in UAE, children go to father.

:!: The mother is proved incompetent by UAE courts. He advises to prove a mothers incompetence is very difficult in UAE. Incompetence basically equates to illegal convictions i.e: sexual misconduct, adultry etc. or other criminal activity- all cases requiring 2 male witness or 2 female witness and 1 male witness!

Now the fun bit for male folk with daughter/s- lawyer advises that once custody is awarded to mother the father has visitation rights only (so no co-parenting, dual custody etc. etc) In UAE there is either custody or no custody- so your male rights of visitation to your daughter are:

:!: 1 visit per week per day time only. AND no sleep-overs etc. :shock: [/b](now I am not sure if this is correct, he said it is in terms of the UAE laws- very different from other countries laws- I am hoping that someone with some legal exp or previous experiences with custody issues can share some light on this please!)


He also advises not to cancel the mothers visa until legal process is complete or understood well underway, as this will be seen negatively by a Judge, yeah right! (in light of the above)

In terms of the Divorce, it can take up to a year there are many stages that lead up to Judgement day.
:!: Somewhere inbetween the mother is provided a tempory order from the court for the father to pay a proviso maintenance for her and child expenses, so she can then freely leave the household and be well provided for, while the custody/divorce proceedings take place.

The lawyer also advises that the court will award the mother a suitable (huge amount) maintenance payable until the child reaches ages as above.

NOW after all the whole process is done:


Once the divorce is settled- her existing Visa is terminated and she will be required to obtain sponsorship in order to continue her stay, by employer or by marriage- or she can reside illegally and if caught she pays 200 DHS for first day and 100 DHS each day she stays without visa.

If she chooses to leave even with custody awarded to her by the UAE courts- father has right to withold passport and this can be done at any stage. (AS MENTIONED BY IRISJAY)

Aparently as a father in UAE you have the right to keep the childrens passport and also if you dont have the passports you have right to a ban child from travelling with mother.

So with this info, my personal opinion is that it is quite a lengthy process for divorce in UAE and it is more structured around the local, but an expat can be divorced here to the detriment of finances if he uses attorneys. Also as a male expat I see this information and using the UAE courts for divorce as a doube-edge sword as you can really suffer to get decent access to your children.

Also I am advised that should one party not use a lawyer this drags out the matter due to translation issues, everything goes from Arabic to English and visa versa throughout the procedings.

He advised that if she returns from having cancelled visa, obtains a sponsor and obtains a resident permit she can go immediately to the court and file for custody of her children ages as above.

ALso if she has found sponsor and can get employed and is awarded the custody through the court I asked if I had to wish to leave Dubai- he said that I would have to apply for custody to take child out of country. If she did not wish to leave it would be negative for her, if I lost my Job I would have to leave within said 30 days and the child would remain with mother as custodian.

He said that a partner could not be banned from re-entering UAE.



Can anyone share some more light on these matters- personal experiences with the legal system here in dubai and custody/divorce matters?
Arcus
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Re: Divorce In UAE - What Are A Father's Custody Rights? Apr 30, 2012
Pardon?
joehart
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