JEDDAH: Divorced women are no longer required to file a lawsuit to gain custody of their children, provided there are no disputes between the parents.
Mothers may now simply submit a request to the relevant court, without the need for legal action.
The new process was outlined in a circular to the courts from Sheikh Walid Al-Samaani, the minister of justice and president of the Higher Council of the Judiciary.
The circular also gives the mother the right to carry out all formalities related to her children at government departments, embassies, education offices and schools, and to apply for and collect her children’s passports.
She will also be able to collect all child support and maintenance from government and civil entities, but may not travel with her children outside the Kingdom without a judge’s permission.
“In the past, the mother had to file a lawsuit for the right to custody of her children, and it could take a very long time, which had negative effects on the mother, the family, and particularly the children,” the prominent Jeddah lawyer Majed Garoub told Arab News.
“Protracted litigation over custody was hard for the mother, and there were litigation expenses too,.
“It was a great strain for the mother, the father would be contesting her over custody, and the case would go the the court of appeal, and it could start all over again. However, now it is radically different. The priority of custody of children goes automatically to the mother.”