What are the rights of a father in a divorce?

Whether you decide to divorce in the UK or the UAE, it is imperative for parents to be aware of and understand their position in relation to any children of the family. In the UAE, there are two aspects involved in the care of children: Custody (Hadana) and Guardianship (Wilaya). Custodians are the caretakers of the child, responsible for their day to day needs, including feeding and clothing as well as having physical custody of the child. Guardians are financially responsible for their wife and children for maintenance, expenses and providing suitable accommodation as well as having the decision-making power.

In the UAE, the father is traditionally the Guardian and the Custodian the mother and their duties and responsibilities are segregated. These roles continue in the event of a divorce, with the mother remaining the Custodian and the father remaining the Guardian. Upon the children attaining the age of puberty, 11 years old for a boy and 13 years old for a girl, the Guardian father can make an application to obtain custody of the children, providing certain conditions have been satisfied.

In the UK, both parents are able to share Parental Responsibility of the child, which is an all-encompassing role. If the parents are unmarried then the father’s name is added to the child’s birth certificate for him to obtain Parental Responsibility (PR) and if the parents are married then the father automatically shares PR with the mother, who acquires PR by virtue of giving birth to the children.

Upon divorce, both parents are encouraged to negotiate arrangements for the children amicably.  If they are unable to do this and negotiation and/or mediation proves unsuccessful, an application can be made to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order under section 8 of the Children Act 1989.  This can stipulate where and with whom a child lives, when and where they will have contact with the non-custodial parent, and any other matters relating to the child’s welfare.  The welfare of the child will be considered of paramount concern by the Court in any family proceedings.

If you are concerned about your rights as a father or if you are considering divorce, we can assist you with deciding which jurisdiction you should issue in and provide you with expert advice and representation to ensure your best interests are protected.

Differences aside, it is widely recognised across jurisdictions that in deciding family or matrimonial matters, the best interests of the child of the family should be of paramount importance and at the forefront of considerations for the court and parties involved.

Contact us on +971 4 448 4284 or email on info@twslegal.ae to speak with a member of our family law team.

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