Over the years, Alderson and Associates have had to deal with a number of distressing child abduction cases. These situations occur when Parties are warring with each other as to who the children should live with and where the children should live. Many child abduction cases arise when families move to the Middle East as a result of the husband’s work. Men will often find it easier to live in a foreign country where they are working because their work and friends that they make during the course of their employment allow them to settle in so much quicker. Women, on the other hand, often find it difficult to be away from “close family members” and to make new friends, especially if they do not have work themselves and meet other people regularly. When Parties separate, it is often the Wife and Mother who wishes to return to her home country and to her close family ties and support. Of course, neither the Father or the Mother wish to be without regular contact with their children and in the UAE Court process can be allowed to stop children from travelling out of the UAE. To some extent, this also creates a situation whereby the Wife feels imprisoned in a country that she no longer wishes to reside in and over the years there have been many women who find ways to leave the country without the Husband’s consent or a Court order allowing them to do so. Court process is then required to establish what is the best interest of the children and which parent is best served to take care of them. The UK Courts take many aspects of the children’s lives into account when considering where the children should live and with whom. The UAE Courts are quite different in their approach to such matters Sharia Law will prevail. For example, if the Wife has left the country but the children remain resident, it is certain that the Husband will be able to apply and retain custody. If the Wife has left the UAE with the children, Court process will need to be applied within the home country. The UK Courts look at where the children were born, where their home has been and the length of time that that country has been their home, who, in principle, takes care of the children on a day to day basis and other matters such as illnesses or mental disorders on the part of one or other of the parents. Their lifestyle in the country that they have been resident is also a factor, especially if that lifestyle is incapable of being achieved when they return to their home country. Clearly, finances of the Parties are also relevant in looking at best interest of the children and if their education in their home country is inferior to that which they have enjoyed whilst living abroad especially when private school fees are available for the benefit of the children, is yet another feature that the UK Courts will consider. These criteria, however, are not part of the consideration process in the UAE Courts.
The UAE does now work closely with authorities such as Interpol, especially in relation to child abduction and Interpol can cease passports and make arrests of those who are considered to be guilty of child abduction. These cases are rare, however, and would involve Court process in the UAE and the home country. The UAE, however, is not a Hague Convention country and so there are no automatic rights of enforcement for Orders for the return of children to a home country.
As parents, it is always important to consider, regardless of your personal feelings towards your Wife or Husband, how you would feel if the boot were on the other foot and your children were taken away from you. It is always in the best interest of the children for parents to agree the children’s future, where they are to live, how they are to be educated, what religion they should be brought up in etc. These are important features to raising children and when you have both decided to have a family, it is equally important that you both involve each other in the important decisions of raising those children.
Alderson and Associates have many years’ experience of international child abduction both in taking and defending proceedings where children have been abducted but also in the preparation of Expert’s reports in country such as Sweden, Denmark, the UK, US, Canada and Australia. Where Court action commences in a home country, the Courts often require experts to assess the risk, practice and procedure as to the particular set of circumstances within the UAE. Alderson and Associates are familiar with the Court requirements in many different countries but more particularly the UK and the UAE.
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ALDERSON & ASSOCIATES
Are UK and UAE based Legal Consultants. Our team of Lawyers have combined experience of over 20 years in the United Arab Emirates and in excess of 30 years in the United Kingdom. We are family specialists in all areas of divorce, financial disputes, children issues and child abduction. We are fully versed as to practice and procedures in the UK and UAE Courts.