Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19-positive mothers will lose kids' custody until they are disease-free

Afkar Abdullah /Sharjah Filed on April 23, 2020
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(Reuters file)

'They would be charged with negligence of their duties'

Mothers may lose their children's custody temporarily if they have tested positive for Covid-19, legal authorities have clarified.

Legal advisors at the Sharjah courts said that Covid-positive mothers will have to prove their recovery and fitness to retain the custody of their children. "If a mother tests positive for the virus, custody shall be transferred to the grandmother (mother's mother) and if she is unavailable, the father will have to look after the children. This is until the mother is released from quarantine after her recovery from the virus," they said.

"Infected mothers who fail to report their condition to authorities may face penalties, including jail," added the lawyers. "They would be charged with negligence of their duties."

Legal researcher Khaled Al Mazmi said Article 143 of the Personal Status Law requires several conditions for a parent to get the custody of the children. "These include the parent or guardian must be rational, has the ability to raise, maintain and care for the children, in addition to being safe and free from serious infectious diseases. This law will be applied in the case of a Covid-positive mother. She will have to prove the recovery to her mother or ex-husband to win the custody back. If she dies due to the coronavirus, the custody will automatically be transferred to the father," he said.

Legal counsel and lawyer Omar Al Sabousi said that an infected mother can reclaim the kids' custody once she is disease-free. "Parents must approach the 'Urgent Matters Court' for temporary rulings and reach amicable solutions to ensure there is no negligence."

Another legal researcher Ayham Al Mughrabi added: "Anyone who intentionally fails to inform the authorities concerned about their disease in fear of losing custody and transmits the infection to the children would be charged with negligence, resulting in imprisonment and a fine of not less the Dh5,000."

Meanwhile, Dr Maryam Al Jasmi, respiratory pathologist, said that although children are considered less vulnerable to the coronavirus, medical studies have shown the levels of immunity differs from one child to the other. "Infection may reach a critical level in some children due to their weak body structure and decreased immunity. This might especially be the case among kids who suffer from asthma and other allergies," she said.

Afkar Abdullah

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