CUSTODY LAW OF CHILDREN IN MOROCCO
By Gabriel Sawma
Governed by the 2004 Family Law (Code de l Famille 2004), also called Moudawana. The family law is the only law in contemporary Morocco based on Islamic law. Accordingly, custody is defined as protection of the child from harm and carry out his or her upbringing and interests. The custodian must take all the necessary steps to preserve the child’s safety.
Custody is one of the parents’ duties as long as the marital relationship exists. If the spouses do not agree on the custody of the children after divorce, the court must determine this. The law of Morocco distinguished between daily care (hadana) and the legal right of the guardianship (wilaya). Article 171 gives daily care to the mother, especially if the child is under seven years of age, then to the father and then to the grandmother of the child. If one of these is able to care for the child on a daily basis, the court must, after an assessment of the interests of the child, grant the care to the closes relative suitable for the take.
When the child is 15 years old, the law allows him or her to choose which of the parents they wish to live with. Article 166.
If the mother remarries, the father may claim custody for children over seven years, provided that the transfer of custody is not harmful to the child. According to article 176, the demand for transfer of custody must be submitted to the court within one year after the father became aware that the mother has married
Travel: the court, at the request of the Public Prosecutor, or the legal representative of the child, ban travel with the child outside Morocco without permission from the guardian. In a separate episode, I will explain the differences between guardianship and the duties of the custodian.
Morocco does not recognize or enforce a foreign court judgment if it come into direct conflict with Moroccan law.
Morocco acceded to the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. It is the first North African State to do so. The Hague Convention provides a rapid procedure for the prompt return of a child who has been unlawfully removed to or retained in a contracting state. Most cases dealt with under the Convention involve abduction by one of the parents.
Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background, and a recognized authority on Islamic law of marriage, divorce and custody of children, Hindu marital disputes in U.S. courts, and Iran divorce in USA.
- Professor: Middle East Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
- Lawyer with Middle East Background; Graduated from the Lebanese University, school of law.
- Admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association of Beirut.
- Practiced law in Beirut.
- Nominated to be a judge in Lebanon, Lebanese Judicial Studies.
- Supervised contracts in Europe and the Middle East.
- Travelled extensively to the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates.
- Worked in Saudi Arabia.
- Expert consultant on Islamic law.
- Expert consultant on Islamic divorce in USA.
- Expert consultant on mahr agreements in Islamic marriage contracts.
- Expert consultant on Islamic finance.
Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University
285 Madison Avenue,
Madison, NJ 07940-1099.
Taught the following courses:
- Arabic 1001, Fall 2007, Spring 2008
- Arabic 1002, Spring 2008
- Arab Culture and Civilization, Fall 2009
- Arab-Islamic Culture and Civilization, Fall 2011
- Near East as Source of Western Culture
- Middle East Constitutional Law – comparative study, including Islamic law of marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance
Lecturer on Islamic Finance at the University of Liverpool:
Course taught at Mercer Community College, West Windsor, New Jersey, Fall 2011.
- Arabic 101
Professor of Arabic 101 at Princeton Adult School in Princeton, NJ (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Lecturer on Islamic Shari’a and its sources. See my lecture at Fairleigh Dickinson University to students and faculty:
Expert Consultant on Muslim family laws of the Middle East, Central and southeast Asia, Africa, and India.
Expert Consultant of Islamic divorce in USA, see our website at:
Featured on the BBC as, “Expert Consultant on Islamic divorce in USA.” The interview is posted on BBC’s website:
Featured on CNN as “Professor and Expert Consultant on Islamic sharia law.” The interview is posted on CNN’s website:
Editor in chief of a blog on International Law, mainly Islamic law of marriage, divorce and custody of children:
Won A Landmark Case In New York Involving Recognition of a Foreign Divorce Judgment including custody, and securing a mahr of $250,000 for the client
In 2012, the Supreme Court of Westchester County handed down a decision in favor of my client. The court recognized a divorce decree obtained from Abu Dhabi (UAE), including custody of children and recognizing a mahr agreement of $250,000. The entire court order is available on this link: http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/other-courts/2012/2012-ny-slip-op-51875-u.html
The Appellate Division Affirms
On January 20, 2015, the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, issued a ruling, in which the Court affirmed the decision of the lower Court. The decision of the Appellate Division is available on this link: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/ad2/calendar/webcal/decisions/2016/D47647.pdf
Won A Landmark Case Involving Custody of Children
Saudi Arabia’s Shari’a Court issued a custody order against a U.S. citizen woman who was married to a Saudi husband. The husband obtained a court judgment from Saudi Arabia granting him custody of his two daughters. The Court in Allegheny, Pennsylvanian agreed with our argument that Saudi Arabia does not have jurisdiction, and the custody order violates Pennsylvania public policy and that Saydi Arabia is in violation to international human rights treaties.
The court order is not published yet, but I have a copy at request. Once published, I will post the link online. For more information on Abduction of children or fear of abduction to Muslim majority countries, please see our website at: www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com
Author of dozens of articles dealing with Islamic divorce in USA and on International Law: Most of these articles can be found on our website at, http://www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com
Following is a partial list of my articles on Islamic and Hindu Divorces:
- Iraqi Divorce in U.S. Courts
- Yemeni Divorce and U.S. Immigration
- Egyptian Divorce and U.S. Immigration
- Palestinian Islamic Divorce of West Bank in USA
- Saudi Divorce in USA
- Saudi Divorce and U.S. Immigration
- Saudi Arabian Child Custody Cases in USA
- Pakistani Divorce and U.S. Immigration
- Muslim Divorce in Tunisia
- Muslim Divorce in Bangladesh
- Marriage of Minors in Islam
- The Iddat of a Woman in Islam
- Muslim Men Marrying Non-Muslim Women
- The Law of Marriage and Divorce in the United Arab Emirates
- Islamic Syrian Divorce in USA
- Islamic Yemeni Divorce in USA
- Islamic Jordanian Divorce in USA
- Recognition of Hindu Divorces in New York State
- Islamic Divorce in New York State
- The Khul’ Divorce in Egypt
- Islamic Women Divorce Laws in Egypt
- Muslim Iranian Divorce in USA
- Pakistani Islamic Divorce in U.S. Courts
- Islamic Lebanese Divorce in USA
- Islamic Marriage Over the Phone, an interview with BBC, (see above)
- Islamic Sharia in Theory and Practice, a Lecture at FDU, (see above)
- Divorce in Egypt, an interview with CNN, (see above)
- Annulment of Islamic Marriages
- The Wali (guardian) in Islamic Marriages According to Hanafi Jurisprudence
- Islamic Marriage Contracts in the Hanafi Jurisprudence
- The Jihaz in Islamic Marriages
- The Nafaqa in Islamic Marriage
- The Mahr in Islamic Marriage Contracts
- Indian Divorce in US Courts
- Application of Islamic Sharia in US Courts
- Abduction of children to Muslim Majority Countries
- Abduction of American children to Saudi Arabia
- Abduction of American Children to Jordan
- Abduction of American Children to Iran
Wrote extensively on International law in the area of the European Union Law. Following are excerpts:
- Supremacy of the European Union Law, http://gabrielsawma.blogspot.com/2005/03/supremacy-of-european-union-law.html
- Limitations on the Effectiveness of Trademark Laws in the European Union, Case Study, http://gabrielsawma.blogspot.com/2005/04/limitations-on-effectiveness-of.html
- Doing Business in the Arabian Gulf, http://gabrielsawma.blogspot.com/2005/05/doing-business-in-arabian-gulf-region.html
- Islamic divorce in U.S. courts, http://www.phillyimc.org/en/islamic-divorce-us-courts
- Prohibition of interest in Islamic banking and finance, http://searchwarp.com/swa615826-Prohibition-Of-Interest-In-Islamic-Banking-And-Finance.htm
- the Scope of Immunity for Heads of States under International Law, http://searchwarp.com/swa65501.htm
- Do sanctions on Iran Work, http://gabrielsawma.blogspot.com/search/label/Nuclear%20threat
- The mahrprovision in Islamic marriage contract, http://searchwarp.com/swa521011-The-Mahr-Provision-In-Islamic-Marriage-Contracts.htm
- Application of Islamic shari’a in U.S. courts, http://gabrielsawma.blogspot.com/2008/06/application-of-islamic-sharia-in-us.html
- Muslim brotherhood and the Middle East Upheaval, http://miami.indymedia.org/news/2011/04/22114.php
Partial List of my Articles on International Law:
- The Shebaa Farms Under International Law
- The Nigerian Scam and its Impact on Global Economy
- Public International Law and Organizations
Speak, read and write: Arabic, English, French, Syriac, Biblical and Talmudic Aramaic
- Admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association of Beirut since 1970
- Former Associate Member of the New York Bar Association, 1982
- Former Associate Member of the American Bar Association, 2003
Gabriel M. Sawma
Cell (609) 915-2237
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Visit our YouTube channel: Gabriel Sawma
 These articles are published and can be accessed on this blog.