Israeli Family-Law Forum - Moslems

Below are readers' questions about 'Moslems', which we have chosen to answer. Further and more detailed information on family law issues relating to Moslems, is found on our main website, Family Law in Israel , and can be accessed by running a search, using keywords, or by looking at these specific pages:

No! Both Israel's  Sha'ari (Islamic religious) Appeal Court and Supreme Court (highest level of civil appeal court in Israel) have held that "the child's good" is the overriding factor in determining which  of two Moslem parents contesting custody is to be custodian  . This was stated very clearly by the Krayot Family Court in November 2011 in a custody case involving a 9 year old Moslem boy. The court  accepted the recommendations of a lawyer it had appointed to represent the child independently of his contesting Moslem parents,and awarded custody to the mother.

The court stressed that the Supreme Court had cancelled the theory of a rebuttable factual assumption (originating from the Hanafi School of thought and Ottoman law), that a father has more suitable skills to guide  a son ,once he reaches the age of 7, when he begins to build his personality and identity. Sha'ari courts also now tend to examine "the child's good" from the outset, it said.

Yes, if 'civil' paternity is proved in the family (civil) court system, the father will be obliged to pay child maintenance under civil law, even if under the personal . religious law applying to Moslems, he is not regarded as the child's father because the parties are not married and he does not have an obligation to support the child.

Yes, at the family court serving the area where you live. It will have jurisdiction to deal with the issue when the child is physically present in Israel and the need arises. The chief factor will be the child's welfare/good, as interpreted by Israeli civil law.
Yes ! Parallel jurisdiction exists between the family (civil) and the Sha'ari court on the issues of child custody and child maintenance where both parents are Moslems and married to one another.
At the family court , the only court having jurisdiction over paternity. Paternity is not recognized outside of marriage, according to Islamic law. Paternity must be established before child maintenance can be set. If necessary, the mother can request that the court order genetic testing, to establish paternity, if the alleged father denies paternity. If he refuses, unjustifiably, this can play against him, and the court even has jurisdiction to declare him the father if his refusal to undergo genetic testing is unjustified, in its opinion.
The family court – what counts is the parties' religious affiliation when they got married.

The Sha'ari (Moslem religious) court according to Islamic religious law. What counts is the religious affiliation of the spouses at the time of their marriage. The divorce process will be a religious one, not a civil one.