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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 110466
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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The situation. I am a US citizen (Living in MA for 3 months,

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The situation. I am a US citizen (Living in MA for 3 months, previously in CA for 2 years), my wife is a US perm. resident. We have a 2 year (US Citizen) old son. My wife (Indian Citizen) has psychiatric problems...bipolar mania and symptoms of schizophrenia. She currently (for the past 3 months) has been unofficially residing in Bahrain (island country in the Persian Gulf) with my son and her parents -they are residents there. I am worried about my sons day-to day well-being as well as his long term health/upbringing. My wife has been delusional (persecution, infidelity, grandeur), and though she is under care of a psychiatrist, I believed she was getting better...she is not..and hence my concern.

I want a divorce. US family law generally sides on the mother, I do not want to risk my son's future. I looked into Bahrain law and divorce in terms of expatriates from a few googled websites. I would like to know the definitive (or best guesstimate) law of Bahrain, both in terms of custody as well as alimony and child support.

Can I get a divorce in Bahrain and expect custody to be awarded to me, as the father? Also, alimony and if necessary, child support?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Your saying US Family Law sides with the mother is not true any longer and the courts will consider the fact the child is a US citizen and that the mother has a mental condition it would consider which parent's custody is in the best interests of the child. As far as Bahrain, there is no real law on custody but the courts under Shari'a law.

In determining issues of custody, Bahrain courts consider the parents’ religion, place of permanent residence, income, and the mother’s subsequent marital status. Priority is generally given to a Muslim father, irrespective of his nationality. Under Shari'a law a Muslim mother is usually granted custody of girls under the age of nine and boys under the age of seven, at which time custody is transferred to the father. If the mother is unavailable, an infant may be given to the grandmother on the mother's side until s/he reaches the age of seven or nine.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I realize extenuating circumstances can allow for a father to be granted custody of their child in the US- but this is highly dependent upon proving of the mother's continued psychiatric instability, correct- especially in California?

Does Shari'a law apply to expatriates? - Namely a US citizen father, an Indian-citizen mother (US perm resident staus/greencard), assuming the child is also a US citizen?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
The Shari'a law applies to all in Bahrain, but as you think the US law is biased to fathers (which it is not) the Shari'a law sides most times with keeping the child in the country and under that law and religion.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Paul-I appreciate your insight and knowledge thusfar.

In Bahrain- Shari'a law applies to expats and locals alike...okay. But, they, the court, would, in terms of custody- side on the parent of a non-citizen (vs. a non-citizen )to keep the non-citizen and child in the country? (or is this the case in terms of a Bahraini citizen vs. non-citizen?)

I ask you this because my experience (through heresay) in the middle east is that citizens are a completely different class as opposed to non-citizens. In most countries in the middle east, outside people (as my father-in-law is and as not been given citizenship for over 25 years) are paid well to do a job and expected to leave before they retire, and generally, be in service of the king/sheikh-dom.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
No, they would side on a citizen's side, but for non-citizens there is little concern, as you put it, regarding the custody and it is on a case by case basis as I said above.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
So, was a divorce case to transpire in India, with my wife(an Indian Citizen), and myself a US-citizen but Indian by origin with family in the country, and my US citizen son, to take place, what are the governing laws, and what could I expect out of a straightforward case there?

FYI Assets, regardless of where divorce to take place:
Wife- $85k in real estate in India; 0k/year income-I have been supporting her further studies to practice dentistry- probably 2 years from income-meanwhile approx 65k/year in graduate education x 2 years.
Me- $100k liquid; 150k+/year income for past 3 months, during 3 yrs marriage- between employment and unemployment-average of 45k/year.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
I cannot even speculate about India law, we have no India law experts here and I certainly could not even give an opinion. All I can tell you is from horror stories I have heard from clients who have had to deal with foreign divorces and custody, they all wish they would have done them in the US.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Paul- do you mean India in general, or foreign divorce cases as a whole? What about Bahrain?

All court rulings, regardless of country, are held up in the US, correct?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
When I say foreign divorces I was referring to the middle eastern countries and countries using Muslim or Shari'a laws. and I am no experts on those laws and really could not tell you anything about the laws in India regarding the custody and divorces.
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