divorce, marital dispute
Under UAE law, the fosterer may not travel with the fostered child outside the country, except with the written approval of the child's father. If the father refuses to grant such a permission, then a written approval needs to be taken from the court. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Fosterage of children in divorce case

Question: A woman says that she is a non-Muslim who was divorced from her husband a year ago before the Sharia Court in Dubai. The court had also ruled that the custody of her four-year-old daughter and three-year-old son would remain with her. Her question is: Is it legal for her to travel with her children to her country of origin to visit her relatives? Does her former husband have the right to object to it? Until what year is she legally entitled to foster her children?

Answer: Firstly, you may not travel with the children outside the country without the consent of their father and in case he refuses you may request the permission from the judge according to Article (149) of the UAE Personal Status law, which states: ‘The fosterer may not travel with the fostered child outside the State, except with the written approval of his or her tutor. Should the tutor refuse to give his or her consent, the matter shall be submitted to the judge.’

Without prejudice to the provisions of Article (149) of this Law, the tutor may keep with him the passport of the fostered child, except in case of travel, where he should hand it over to the woman fosterer. The judge may order to keep the passport in the hands of the fosterer should he notice an obstinateness on the tutor’s part to refuse delivering it to the fosterer in case of necessity.

Secondly, the right of women to foster a child shall end upon his reaching the age of 11 years, in case of a male child, and 13 years, in case of a female child, unless the court deems that extending this age to the age of maturity, for the male, and up to her marriage, for the female, is in his/her best interest. Unless the interest of the fostered child otherwise requires, the mother’s fosterage shall continue in case the child is of unsound mental condition or suffering from a disabling illness. (Article 156)

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The mother’s custody of the child shall be forfeited for any one of the reasons listed in Article 152 of the same law by a violation of one of the conditions required by Articles 143 and 144 of the law, which are the loss of reason, honesty and the ability to raise, maintain and care for the young child, or if the mother suffers from a serious infectious disease, or if she is sentenced to a penalty in one of the crimes of honour or if the female custodian marries a foreigner on behalf of the young child, unless the court assesses otherwise the interests of the child in custody or for any other reason as determined by law.