Abu Dhabi court gives mother custody of children she left behind

A woman has won custody of her four children after divorcing her husband, despite being separated from her husband and children for two years.

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ABU DHABI // A woman who filed for divorce from her husband has been returned custody of their four children, despite not asking for it when they separated two years ago.

The Cassation Court ruled that the mother still had rights to their children before the divorce was finalised.

She filed for divorce after leaving the family home for two years, claiming damages after saying her husband had been physically abusive.

Her claims included that he provided a home for them, along with a housemaid and nursery fees.

She also asked that he pay her idda allowance for the time the divorce case was decided, children's expenses and Dh70,000 that she paid for the furniture in their house and its maintenance.

The husband filed a counter claim, arguing that his former spouse had left home without the children, therefore she had given up her right to custody.

Last August, the Court of First Instance ruled in her favour to divorce and awarded damages.

It gave her custody and ordered the father to hand over the Emirates ID cards for the children and their birth certificates, health cards and their other official documents.

She was ordered to return the allowances that she received for three of the children since July 2012, as they had not been staying with her.

The court ruled that although she may have left the home for two years there was no custody involved as no divorce proceedings were initiated at the time.

It upheld the decision of the Court of First Instance.