Fathers are the sole legal guardians of children.

A mother has custody of children until they are 15 at which point children may decide which parent they wish to live.

A judge may authorize the extension of the mother’s custody for her female child to the age of 18, if it is deemed in the best interest of the child. However, the authority for major decisions that relate to the child remains with the father as the sole guardian. The primary consideration in custody disputes is the best interests of the child, and since 2012 joint custody arrangements have been given legal recognition.

A mother loses her right to custody if she marries someone who is a not a close blood relative (muharam) to her daughter - restricting a mother’s choice to her former husband’s father, uncles, and brothers.

A non-Muslim woman married to a Muslim man automatically loses custody when her child reaches seven years.

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