Khaleej Times, Monday, Jan 09, 2023 | Jamadi Al Thani 16, 1444
New Dubai law to allow children to choose guardian in divorce cases: Report
Children will soon be allowed to choose their guardian following a divorce
according to a report published on Sunday.
Some legislation is set to be issued to let children of legal age (15 years old
for boys and 18 for girls) decide whom they want to stay with — either their
mother or their father, according to a report on Arabic daily Al Bayan, which
quoted Ahmad Abdul Kareem, head of family reconciliation and guidance section at
the Dubai Courts and chairman of the Custody Committee in the emirate.
The Custody Committee, affiliated with the Dubai Courts, was formed in April
2022 under the decree No. 7 of 2022 issued by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin
Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Judicial
Speaking to the daily, Ahmed Abdul Kareem said that since the committee
officially started its duties in August 2022, it has completed 32 eligibility
reports on the social, psychological, health and criminal status of persons
Explaining the current process, Abdul Kareem said that issuing a custody
eligibility report starts with the court assigning the committee a report
regarding the suitability of the guardian for custody.
Then, the specialised committee member in the Child Protection Unit of the
Community Development Authority makes a field visit to the applicant to evaluate
family, social and economic conditions, and the ability to provide the necessary
living, educational and health needs for the child. It also ensures that those
seeking custody are free from any disease that poses a danger to the child.
The custody committee rules by majority of the votes and in case the votes are
equal, the opinion of the chairman of the committee whose vote counts for two is
the decisive factor.
Currently, the law does not permit the court or the custody committee to allow
the children to choose between their father and mother for custody.
Abdul Kareem told the paper that it currently only seeks their opinion in some
aspects that are related to the investigation of their living conditions and
their satisfaction with the level of care provided by the parent.
He stressed that fathers and mothers need to respect the wishes and interests of
their children, and not involve them in the disputes arising from divorce.