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Dubai Courts building. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: A father has had his guardianship of his daughter restored by a Dubai court despite him previously wanting his rights waived off.

According to Dubai Court of Appeal, the father had filed a case in the Sharia (Islamic law) Court in which he had said that his former wife, the girl’s mother, neglected her responsibilities and stayed outside the UAE.

Prior to that, he had an agreement with her in which he had got his guardianship of their seven-year-old daughter waived off.

The Sharia Court had given custody to the mother.

Missing school

The father said on record that his former wife had left the country and their daughter, who was autistic, was neglected. She used to miss school for many days, he claimed, and urged the court to restore his right to be his daughter’s guardian.

Meanwhile, the mother filed a case asking to increase the alimony and cost of living for her daughter to Dh7,000, besides seeking an allowance of Dh70,000 for the house, Dh2,000 in bills and school fees, car insurance and housemaid.

She claimed that she had been working as a regional director in an international company and couldn’t keep her job due to COVID-19 pandemic. She further claimed her former husband wouldn’t meet all requests although his financial situation had improved.

Invalid agreement

According to lawyer Bader Khamis, who represents the father, the Appeal Court ordered to return the guardianship rights to the father because the agreement between the father and mother had violated the law.

“The father has the inalienable rights of custody of his daughter. The agreement to waive off his guardianship rights happened under special circumstances based on conditions that the former wife couldn’t fulfil,” said Khamis.

The Dubai Court of Appeal rejected the father’s request to drop the custody of the mother and cancelled the father’s waiver of the guardian’s rights in the agreement, stating it is against the Sharia and legal rules.

Custody vs guardianship

According to the UAE laws, the mother is granted custody rights while the father is granted guardianship rights.

Custody describes a parent’s care of a child on daily basis, while guardianship means to act in the child’s best interests, such as having the right to look after the child’s education, cover housing, food and other expenses.