A questioner asks: I am a non-Muslim woman married to a Muslim man, with whom I have a 3-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. Currently, I want to file a divorce lawsuit before the Sharia court. My question is, if the court grants me the divorce and custody of my children, how long is it permissible for me to retain custody of my children? What are the reasons for custody to be forfeited? In the event the custody is forfeited, does the spousal support forfeited? Please advise.
Answer 1. To answer such question, I would advise the questioner that:
As per Article 145 of the Personal Status Law, “Should the fosterer be a mother of a different religion than that of the fostered child, her fosterage shall be forfeited unless the judge deems otherwise in the interest of the fostered child provided the period of fosterage ends upon his completing the age of five whether he child is a boy or a girl.
(2) Custody is forfeited due to the reasons stated in Article 152 of the Personal Status Law: * Derogation to one of the conditions stated in Articles 143 and 144.
* In case the fosterer elects a domicile in another city thus making it difficult for the tutor to attend to his duties.
* Should the person entitled to fosterage keep silent and do not claim this right for a period of six months without excuse.
* Should the new fosterer live with the one whose fosterage has been forfeited for a reason other than physical disability.
The conditions the fosterer must satisfy for custody according to Articles 143 & 144 are: Sound judgment; having attained the age of maturity; fidelity; ability to raise the fostered child and provide for his maintenance and care; safety from dangerous contagious diseases; and not previously condemned for a crime against honour, If a woman: (a) 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.
(3) The support that is connected to the custody and related to it will be forfeited if the custody is forfeited.