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What Is The Legal Procedure For Mutual Transfer For Custody Of A Child? – Family Law

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Under the UAE personal status laws, a custodian and a guardian
are two different concepts. A custodian is an individual who takes
care of the child on a day-to-day basis and has physical custody of
the child. The mother is considered to be a natural guardian of the
child till the daughter turns 13 and the son turns 11, unless the
mother is unfit to take care of the children. The father will have
the right to claim custody only after the children cross the age

On the other hand, a guardian is an individual who is
responsible for providing financial support, taking care of
education, travel and general upbringing of the children. Under the
UAE personal status laws, the father is usually the guardian of the

Mutual Agreement on Custody of the Children

The parents can also enter into a mutual agreement regarding
custody arrangements for the children, which could set out the
rights and obligations of each parent. The parties, with the help
of their legal counsel, can draft and finalise such an

In particular, the agreement could record who the custodian of
the children is, the visitation rights of the parents, including
any overnight stays, visits for special occasions like Eid,
Christmas, birthdays, etc., financial obligations of each party
related to the expenses of the children, travel of the child within
and outside the country including any requirement of consent,
permanent relocation of the child, amongst others.

The best interest of the child has to be the core consideration
while drafting and finalizing this agreement.

How to Make Custody Agreement Binding in the UAE?

In order for the parents to make the custody agreement binding,
it is ideal for the parties to get it executed before the Family
Guidance Department of the Family Courts. The Family Guidance
Department is a special department in the UAE family courts,
located within the premises of the family courts. This department
is responsible for assisting in the execution of such

The broad process to be followed in executing the custody
agreement before the Family Guidance Department is as follows.

  1. A file will be opened before the Family Guidance Department.
    This is usually undertaken by the legal counsel of either of the
    parties. Certain documents will be required to be submitted along
    with the application to open the file.

  1. Once the file has been opened, a hearing date will be set. If
    the parties have not finalized the agreement by the date of
    hearing, a later date will be issued. If the agreement has been
    finalized by the next date, it will be signed by the parties before
    the Family Guidance Department.

Having said the above, it is crucial to note that in order to
make an application to execute a custody agreement in the UAE, at
least one of the parties needs to be resident of the UAE.

One of the biggest advantages of executing the custody agreement
before the Family Guidance Department is that in the event of a
dispute or breach by a party, execution proceedings can be directly
initiated by the non-breaching party based on the terms of the
custody agreement.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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