Spanish man in ruling first for Arab court

Image of a cloudy blue sky. Credit: c12/Shutterstock

A DUBAI appeal court recently gave a Spanish resident joint custody of his two children.

In the first-ever shared custody ruling in an Arab country, the court decided that the children should live with their father for one week and the following week with their mother.

The children’s father, Borja Brañanova, a mining engineer from Asturias who has lived in Dubai for 15 years, considers that he has won the first round of his continuing battle with the country’s legal system.

“I hope this sentence will encourage lawmakers worldwide to get up-to-date and ensure that children, and not only mine, can look forward to a better future,” he said.

Brañanova married a South African woman in 2013 and had two children, Sebastian and Olalla, who were registered as Spanish citizens.

The couple separated three years later and a Dubai court gave the mother sole custody, preventing the father from taking the children on holiday to Spain but allowing them to travel to South Africa with their mother.

Over the next three years Brañanova fought to reverse the custody ruling without help from the Spanish authorities who declined to take action “out of respect for Dubai’s judicial independence.”

Having won the first phase of his battle, Brañaova now hopes that the Dubai judges will allow the children to visit Spain with him.

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