Marriage and divorce cases COVID-19
A person should be divorced in order to file a lawsuit to request custody of his or her children. Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Stock image

Question: I am a Muslim man married to a Muslim woman and we have three children. For over a year, she has been living in another house, separate from me. My question is, do I have the right — legally and according to Sharia — to file a lawsuit to get custody of the children if she does not want to return to the marital home? Do I have the right to stop giving her alimony?

Answer: First, you should be divorced in order to file a lawsuit to request custody of your children because both of you are the custodians, in case you are still married.

Articles 143 and 144 of the Personal Status Law mention the conditions that must exist in the fosterer as follows:

1) sound judgement;

2) having attained the age of maturity;

3) fidelity;

4) ability to raise the fostered child and provide for maintenance and care;

5) safety from dangerous contagious diseases; and

6) not previously condemned for a crime against honour.

In addition to the above conditions, the fosterer must:

1) If a woman:

a) Be not married in a consummated marriage to a man not related to the fostered child, unless the court decides otherwise in the interest of the child.

b) Be of the same religion as the fostered child, with due compliance with Article (145) of this Law.

2) If a man:

a) He must have around him a woman able to be a fosterer.

b) Be related to the fostered girl with such close kinship prohibiting him to marry her.

c) Be of the same religion as the fostered child.

The right of women to fosterage of a child shall end upon the child reaching the age of 11 years, (for males); and 13 years (for females), unless the court deems that extending this age to the age of maturity for the male, and up to marriage for the female, is in his/her best interest.

Unless the interest of the fostered child otherwise requires, the women fosterage shall continue in case the child is of unsound mind or suffering of a disabling illness.

Regarding alimony, you will be responsible as per law to pay her the alimony since she is still your wife unless you file a suitcase to prove that she is living in another house, abandoning you, depriving you from all your marital rights and consequently does not deserve the alimony.

The alimony as per Article 71, is forfeited in the following instances:

1) Should she refuse to give herself to her husband without lawful excuse.

2) Should she abandon the conjugal domicile without lawful excuse.

3) If she forbids her husband to enter the conjugal domicile without a lawful excuse.

4) If a judgement or decision is rendered by the court, restraining her freedom, in a matter to which the husband is not entitled, and the said judgement or decision is in the process of execution.

5) If she breaches her marital obligations stipulated by the law.

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Penalty for embezzlement of funds

Question: I have been working in a private company for 10 years. Five months ago, I was suspended because of a complaint against me in the police by the employer due to embezzlement of company funds and disclosing information to competing companies, according to my employer’s claim. My question is, if this matter is proven in court, what is the expected penalty and will I lose all my labour rights because of this lawsuit?

Answer: The penalty is imprisonment or fine and usually estimated by the court as per the circumstance of each case.

Article 453 of Federal Law 31 of 2021 regarding the Penal Code states that whoever embezzles, uses, or squanders sums, bonds, or any movable property, to the detriment of those who have the right over it, when it was delivered to him as a deposit, lease, mortgage, loan for use, or agency, shall be punished with imprisonment or a fine.

In the application of this text, the agent is considered to be a partner in the common money, a curious person in the money of the person concerned, and whoever receives something to use it in a specific matter for the benefit of its owner or others.

As for disclosing work secrets, Article 432 of the Penal Code states that the person shall be sentenced to detention for a minimum period of one year and/or to a minimum fine of Dh20,000, whoever by virtue of his profession, craft, position or art is entrusted with a secret and divulge it in cases other than those allowed by law or if used for his own personal interest or for the interest of another person, unless authorised by the confiding person to disclose or use it.

The penalty shall be imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years in case the perpetrator is a public servant or a person in charge of a public service who was confided the secret while discharging his duties or performing his service.)

Regarding labour rights, the new labour law does not state that such criminal act might lead to the deprivation of the worker’s rights, so this matter will be decided by the court.