Office Of Grand Ayatollah Sayyed M.S.Al-Hakeem


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Child Custody
Q [1]  What is the Sharia basis of the ruling of child custody?
We cannot get into the details of the derivation since this is discussed in depth in detailed books. However, it has been mentioned in certain narrations that the woman is a guardian during the two years of the breastfeeding, like what has been narrated that Imam Jaffer Al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) said in explaining the verse “Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years” (2:233) that as long as the child is suckling, he is under the custody of both parents equally; after the two years end, the father alone becomes his guardian. This indicates that the mother has custody of the child in the first two years. There are other similar narrations.
Q [2]  How are the expenses of the child’s upbringing calculated in the Sharia?
It is obligatory on the father to support the children by providing them with food and drink, clothes, medicine and all what they need to continue to live.
Q [3]  In the event of divorce, who is entitled to custody of children, the father or the mother?
The right of the custody of the children is for the mother for the first two years of the child’s age. After that, it is obligatory on her to give the custody to the father if he asks for it. At the same time, the father should not prevent the mother from corresponding with her child as this is a right for both the child and the mother.
Q [4]  If two parents are getting divorced or separated, to which parent should the children go? Does age and gender make a difference?
The father has the right to the children’s custody, except for the breastfeeding period which is the first two years, during which the mother will have custody. However, the father is not permitted to prevent the children from corresponding with their mother as long as it is for their benefit.
Q [5]  If the parents of a six-year-old child are divorced, and the father has custody of the child, does the mother have the right to visit her child, even though the father does not let her?
It is not permissible for the father to prevent the divorced mother from visiting her child and see him, except when it is in the best interest of the child to do so.
Q [6]  When a girl becomes nine years old, does she have the right to choose whether she wants to live with her father or her mother?
Yes, if she reached the age of nine years, she can decide with whom she wants to live.
The obligatory expenses are the responsibility of both parents even if the boy or the girl decided to live with any of them.
Q [7]  Is it permissible, for other than the parents of the child in special circumstances, to raise him/her?
It is permissible to raise the child but one should inform him/her of his/her real lineage.

Q [8]  Me and my ex-wife got divorced and we have a daughter who is now ten years old. My daughter is with my ex-wife. She does not let me see her. What are my rights as a father in this situation?
If the girl reached the age of Sharia-defined adulthood, she can choose to live with her mother or father. Neither of them is allowed to prevent the girl from seeing the other parent.

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