Family matters Q&As: who gets child custody in a divorce if neither parent requests it?

A reader asks how to ensure she is paid the alimony she is owed by her ex-husband and another asks if he can keep a property registered in his now ex-wife's name

I have filed for divorce from my husband with Dubai Courts and we are currently awaiting judgment. We have two children together and I have not asked for custody of our children. Can the court give custody to either one of us if neither party has filed for it?

The court will not rule on issues related to custody, or other such matters, if neither party has requested it in their submission to court. As the claimant, you have the right to amend your claim as long as the case is being seen by the Court of First Instance. Similarly, the respondent, the opposite party, has the right to submit a counter-case before the Court of First Instance to include his claims, such as custody of your children.

I live and work in Dubai. My husband and I were granted a divorce two years ago by Dubai Courts, which also awarded me monthly alimony of Dh5,000 from my ex-husband. I have a daughter, 5, who I have custody over but my husband has yet to pay a single dirham since the judgment was issued by the court.

Because a judgment has already been issued against your husband, you may now file an execution case against him that will mandate him to pay what is required from the judgment.

If he does not make the payment to the court, you can pursue execution proceedings against him and request the court to attach his assets and conduct a search on his properties, investments and bank accounts. You may also request the court to have him arrested until he makes the payments he owes you according to the judgment.

I am a South African national and a resident of Dubai. My first wife has filed for divorce in a South African court and is claiming 50 per cent of my assets. I bought a property in Dubai under her name and I want to know if I can claim it back from her.

As per Article 62/1 of the UAE Personal Status Law, each party to the marriage retains the ownership of their individual title to the property after divorce.

However, one party may claim their share in the property to the extent of their participation in the purchase or development of the property. Because the property was purchased with your money, you can file a civil case against your wife to claim the property back.

However, you may also note that as per Article 649/A of the UAE Civil Transactions Law, a gift made by one spouse to another shall not be claimed back. Therefore, the final decision may be subject to the court’s discretionary power.

If you have a question for our legal consultant, email with the subject line “Family Matters”.

Published: June 9, 2019 12:00 AM


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