New Dubai law to allow children to choose guardian in divorce cases: Report

Kids of a certain legal age will soon be allowed to choose the parent they wish to stay with

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File photo used for illustrative purposes
File photo used for illustrative purposes

A Staff Reporter

Published: Sun 8 Jan 2023, 2:20 PM

Last updated: Mon 9 Jan 2023, 3:12 PM

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 Council.

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 seeking custody.

Procedure explained

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.


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