Children of divorced couples can travel with either parent without the other’s approval, Dubai Courts say

The new rule, applicable only in Dubai, has 'practically prioritised the child’s right of travel'

Children of divorced couples can travel out of the UAE with either of their parents, without permission from the other parent. AFP
Children of divorced couples can travel out of the UAE with either of their parents, without permission from the other parent. AFP

Children of divorced couples can travel out of the UAE with either of their parents, without securing permission from the other, Dubai Courts said.

A decree issued in January this year by the courts said international travel would be allowed if certain conditions were met.

Before the new rule was enforced, a child’s guardian, typically the father, was not allowed to take his children out of the country without the approval of the mother, the custodian, and vice-versa.

Travelling with the child without the consent of the other parent could amount to child abduction.

“Previously, the law didn’t permit the father of a child to travel with him for short visits while the mother, being the custodian, could travel with her children under certain conditions,” said lawyer Hassan Elhais from Al Rowaad Advocates.

“The decision number 33 for the year 2021 has practically prioritised the child’s right of travel, their best interest and that of the parents.

“The new rule is only applicable in Dubai and allows either parent to travel with their child but they must meet certain conditions.”

The parents should provide evidence of their intent to return to the country, have a valid residency visa, and a certificate to prove that the child is attending a school in Dubai.

The father should also have a proof of employment. The court should be informed of other factors such as the destination, duration and reason of travel.

A child’s age will not affect the court’s decision but judges will assess if travelling out of the country could harm the child in any way.

“Travel bans have often been abused by one or both spouses to get back at the other following disputes,” Mr Elhais said.

“Parents would only come to know of the travel bans after being stopped at the airport and prevented from flying out of the country.

“But now, for the first time, this decision gives clear guidelines and allows fathers to travel with the children for a short term visit even if the mother has refused.”

Published: May 3, 2021 12:47 PM

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