Parental Child Abduction Mr. Hassan Elhais .pdf
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Parental Child Abduction: Mr. Hassan Elhais
In this day and age, with easy access to travel, parental child abduction has
become increasingly widespread. Parents forum shop for the perfect place in
order to the keep their child. The United Arab Emirates happens to be one of
The UAE is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction, which protects against the retention of children
across international borders and seeks the return of children to their habitual
residence. Nor is it a party to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and
Enforcement Act, which gives courts in the child’s home state exclusive and
continuing jurisdiction for child custody litigation. UAE courts also do not enforce
foreign custody orders. However there are certain circumstances in which the
UAE has a bilateral treaty with other countries concerning international child
abductors and their extradition. Generally though, the UAE follows a
comprehensive set of child custody laws set out in its own federal law system.
Often an abduction case in the UAE is treated as a child custody case. If the
court finds that there is an actual case of parental child abduction, they treat it as
a criminal offense. The UAE uses its own laws to ensure a child’s protection,
instead of surrendering the child’s fate to a foreign court, whose system may be
unfavorable to the child's welfare. Therefore, a parent must apply for custody and
permission to bring the child back to his or her habitual residence through the
Residents of the UAE are awarded more protection than non-residents. However,
priority is generally given to the Muslim father, irrespective of nationality, when
the mother is non-Muslim. Though, in determining matters of custody, courts in
the UAE consider the parents' religion, place of permanent residence, income,
the child’s age and gender, and the mother's subsequent marital status. With
reference to non-Muslims, the laws of the child’s birth place apply, in so far as
they do not conflict with local federal laws. When the case is first presented,
foreign nationals can ask for their case to be heard under the laws of their
country of origin; however, the law of their own country cannot be applied once
the case has started in UAE courts. Normally the parent, who has fled to the UAE
with the child, starts a case in UAE courts in order to apply local legislation.
A recent case in this area dealt with parental child abduction over a 4 year old
girl, whose father lives in Abu Dhabi and whose mother lives in the United States.
The couple moved to Abu Dhabi in 2007, but the mother took the child and
moved back to the US in late 2008. After the mother left, the father filed in UAE
courts and was awarded custody. In February 2010, a US court awarded the
couple joint custody and forbade the father from taking the child to the UAE. The
father breached this order, resulting in kidnapping charges against him in the US.
The girl is currently living in the UAE with her father, as the UAE does not
enforce foreign custody orders.
There have been an increasing number of parental child abduction cases in the
UAE, due to the fact that they are a non-convention state and subsequently apply
their own civil laws. As a result, the return of a child in the UAE is quite
About Author: Mr. Hassan Elhais is one of the renown Family lawyers in
Dubai. Advocate Hassan Elhais has been practicing as a Professional Legal
Consultant andproperty lawyer since 2005 in Dubai, UAE.