Dubai: A woman won the custody of her child following a legal battle with a man to whom she was married until Dubai’s highest court granted them divorce.

The African couple was non-Muslim when they got married in their country in 2004, according to court records, and their marriage resulted in a child, who is eight years old now.

Marital disputes started shortly after the husband claimed to have converted to Islam, following which he lodged a divorce lawsuit against his wife and sought the custody of their child before the Dubai Sharia Court.

He mentioned in his lawsuit that once he discovered that she had remained married to her former husband, he sought to have the child’s custody since he considered that the woman was not eligible to keep the child with her since she was considered to have been married to two men at the same time.

The African man further claimed in his lawsuit that he had been cheated by his wife and asked the court to annul their marriage and grant him the child’s custody due to what he described by the woman’s ineligibility.

Meanwhile, the woman’s lawyer, Awatif Mohammad, of Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants, lodged a counter lawsuit in which she rejected the husband’s allegations and asked the court to dismiss the man’s lawsuit and reject all his demands.

Lawyer Mohammad argued before the court that the husband’s claims were false and that her client had been officially divorced from her first husband before the pertinent court at their homeland.

“My client divorced her first husband and she converted to Islam herself. Actually, it is the claimant [the second husband] who had abandoned her for more than three years and left her without any alimony. She is the one who has been raising their child and providing the child with housing, education and other essential life expenses on her own,” argued lawyer Mohammad.

The wife demanded the court to grant her divorce from the husband, allow her to keep the child and obtain the child’s passport so they could travel outside the UAE, said the lawyer.

The wife also provided the court with a certificate confirming that she had converted to Islam before a Dubai court.

The primary court divorced the couple, granted the child’s custody to the father and rejected the rest of the demands.

The primary judgement was later upheld by the Appeal Court.

Thereafter, the litigants appealed the ruling before the Dubai Cassation Court.

In her argument before the Cassation Court, lawyer Mohammad contended: “My client had signed a divorce agreement with her former husband and that agreement was notarised before the pertinent authorities in their homeland … when she married the current husband, she had already been divorced. The second husband’s claims were false and unfounded. He is the one who had kicked her out of their marital house in Dubai. He left her without any allowance and also seized her personal belongings.”

Thereafter the Cassation Court granted the litigants divorce and awarded the child’s custody to the mother.

According to the cassation judgement, the man was also ordered to pay Dh92,000 in alimony, schooling allowance for the child’s education and give a copy of the child’s passport to the mother.

The ruling is final.