The new law has outraged expatriate women in the United Arab Emirates and is of grave concern for divorced mothers who have custody of their children. The law stipulates that women cannot open or manage the accounts for children under the age of 18.
In an interview with Gulf News, a spokesman for the Central Bank stated that it is only the father who is eligible for such a role and in their absence a close male relative like a grandfather or uncle. “We apply the provisions of Islamic Sharia in this regard. Mothers are legal guardians and trustees and they are not the custodians or natural guardians."
In the UAE, one can only open a savings account for themselves at 18 and must wait till they are 21 to open a full bank account.
A famous news anchor at a pan-Arab TV station in Dubai is one female expatriate who has been adversely affected by this law. She had to bring her divorced ex-husband to the bank in order to open an account for her two young children.
In a separate interview with Gulf News she told reporters, “I can’t understand the logic behind it. It is an impossible demand. I am the one who will deposit the money in a bid to secure the education and the future of my children. “
The woman claimed that the government allows her to be the sponsor of her children meaning that she is considered to be capable by the government which means that the law contradicts itself.
“I can’t believe that we are in the 21st century and treat women as illegitimate custodians of their own children. This is nothing to do with Sharia. It is a backward understanding of the Sharia which had never dealt with such a case. It is we who implement Sharia, “ she said.