Kids of a certain legal age will soon be allowed to choose the parent they wish to stay with.
According to the Arabic daily newspaper Al Bayan, Ahmad Abdul Kareem, Head of Family Reconciliation and Guidance section in Dubai Courts and Chairman of the Custody Committee in Dubai, said that imminently, legislation will be issued allowing children of a certain legal age – 15 years for boys and 18 years for girls – to choose their guardian – their mother or their father.
The Custody Committee, affiliated with the Dubai Courts, was formed in April 2022 under decree No. 7 of 2022 issued by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Judicial Council.
Speaking to the daily, Ahmed Abdul Kareem said that since the committee officially started its duties in August 2022, it has completed 32 eligibility reports on the social, psychological, health and criminal status of persons seeking custody.
Explaining the current process, Abdul Kareem said that issuing a custody eligibility report starts with the court assigning the committee a report regarding the suitability of the guardian for custody.
Then, the specialised committee member in the Child Protection Unit of the Community Development Authority makes a field visit to the applicant to evaluate family, social and economic conditions, and the ability to provide the necessary living, educational and health needs for the child. It also ensures that those seeking custody are free from any disease that poses a danger to the child.
The custody committee rules by majority of the votes and in case the votes are equal, the opinion of the chairman of the committee whose vote counts for two is the decisive factor.
Currently, the law does not permit the court or the custody committee to allow the children to choose between their father and mother for custody.
Abdul Kareem told the paper that it currently only seeks their opinion in some aspects that are related to the investigation of their living conditions and their satisfaction with the level of care provided by the parent.
He stressed that fathers and mothers need to respect the wishes and interests of their children, and not involve them in the disputes arising from divorce.
News Source: Khaleej Times