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Person of Unknown Parentage Law

Ayman Al Ashry

Legal Consultant

Publish : 31 Jan 2023

Decree Law concerning person of Unknown Parentage No.24\2022 (the “Decree Law”) aims to regulate the care and custody of children of unknown parentage by providing them with all support such as: health care, education, secure living conditions for normal development and protect them from any act of abuse or neglect or inhumane treatment.

What Should you do if You Find a Lost Child:

Any person who finds a lost or abandoned child must report it immediately to the nearest police station. After taking the child directly to the nearest healthcare facilitythe police must notify the Public Prosecution within 24 hours of receiving the notification.

Declaration as a Person of Unknown Parentage:

The Public Prosecution, after conducting the necessary investigation into the incident of the lost child shall submit a detailed statement to the Ministry of Community Development within 6 months from the date of notification by the Police Department. In accordance with the statement, the Ministry shall choose the full name of the child.

Granting the Right of Custody:

A family who wants to be granted the custody of a child of unknown parentage must apply to the Ministry of Community Development and shall be limited to one child in addition to the conditions below:


1- Both spouses must be resident Emirati Muslims and neither of them shall be below the age of 25;

2- Neither of the spouses must have been convicted of any offensive or dishonesty-related crime even if they have been pardoned; and

3- Both spouses are free from communicable psychological diseases and mental disorders that might affect the health and safety of the child and shall be financially able to support the members of their family along with the child.

Notwithstanding theabove, the concerned committee may grant the right of custody under two conditions:

1- If either of the spouses are Emirati.

2- If the custodian applicant is an Emirati woman who is not married, divorced, widowed or by whom her husband is absent and she is not younger than the age of 30 and not more than the age of 50.


Custody is considered voluntary work that is carried out free of charge. The custodial family may not claim any expenses incurred by the child or the Ministry or the Committee during the period of custody.

Obligations of The Custodial Family:

The custodial-family shall abide by the following:

1- Provide all forms of social care forthe child andtakegood care of his\her health, education,protection and development at all stages of his\her life;

2- Preserve the property of the child in accordance with the custody issued by the competent court;

3- Notify the Ministry of Community Development or the Committee of any changes to the social status of the spouses such as divorce, death or changes in the place of residence;

4- Facilitate and permit the entry of the social worker into the home to meet the child and review his/her living conditions;

5- Obtaining the prior approval of the Ministry of Community Development or the Committee in case the custodial family wishes hand over the child to another family; and

6- Notify the Ministry of Community Development or the Committee of its desire to return the child within a period of no less than 30 days.


Failure by the custodial family to abide bythe obligationsset out in the Decree Law resulting in harm to the Child,the Committee, based on the report issued by the social worker, may remove the child without the custodial family having the right to object thereto.

Termination of the Custody:          

Custody may be terminated by law if any of the following conditions are present:


1- The Child’s parentage is proven by virtue of a final judgment;

2- The death or separation of either of the spouses in addition to the absence of a member or relative of the custodial family who meets the custody requirements;

3- Issuance of a conclusive judgment against either of the spouses in any of the crimes of honor or any other crime the Committee deems that the child’s interest requires the termination of custody; or

4-  At the request of the custodial family, in accordance with the controls prescribed by the Decree Law and its implementing regulations.


Custody shall terminate by a decision of the Committee based on a report from the social worker if:

1- There is evidence of infliction of harm on the child;

2- The custodial family proves that it is unable to provide social care; or

3- The absence of the custodian is an absence that affects the proper care and upbringing of the child in custody.



Hamdan Al Shamsi Lawyers and Legal Consultants are perfectly positioned to assist our clients in respect of all claims in the Dubai Courts with expertise in the practice of Family Law.

Our team is dedicated to the desires of our clients while simultaneously managing their expectations alongside the realities of the laws that govern Family Law.

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