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Guardianship / Child Custody Law in Pakistan

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Guardianship / Child Custody Law in Pakistan

Guardianship / Child Custody law in Pakistan is modeled on the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890, a British colonial-era law that was passed during the British rule of India. The Act established the Guardian and Wards department in each province, which handled matters related to minors and guardians. A guardian includes any person who has been granted custody of a minor by an authorized court.

The Guardian and Wards department manages all matters related to minors in the country, including Guardianship / Child Custody hearings. If you are thinking about getting divorced or separated from your spouse, you must file a divorce petition through your local district court. If there are children involved in the marriage, you will likely need to go through a Guardianship / Child Custody hearing at some point during or after your divorce proceedings.

The judge presiding over your case will determine who should have primary care over the children by taking into consideration their best interests as well as:

  • Who can provide financial support for the children
  • The living situation of each parent (where do they live?)
  • Who has taken care of the kids since birth (the “primary caregiver”)

Being given primary care does not mean that you are granted physical custody; it means that you will be responsible for making major decisions about your kids’ lives, such as where they go to school and what religion they practice going forward, in addition to financial support. Most judges also take into account who is better equipped emotionally to handle these major responsibilities when deciding on primary caretakers for children.

Guardianship / Custody of Children after Divorce

The law in Pakistan states that, upon divorce, the custody of a child under the age of seven will go to their mother, unless their father has been specifically given custody. If there is some sort of custody court order involved, or if one parent or guardian passes away, then the other parent will have sole legal and physical responsibility for a young child.

Guardianship Cases Mostly Originated From Lahore High Court

A majority of guardianship / custody cases in Pakistan originate from Lahore High Court. Most cases have to do with children born out of wedlock wherein only one parental figure has claimed paternity and disputes over child support payments. In most cases where a woman is trying to obtain sole physical rights over her child after divorce, she must provide evidence that she has been the primary caretaker during their life together and that her spouse may be a threat to their well-being without her emotional support. A mother who wants to keep joint physical custody over her child should gather evidence proving that they are capable of caring for them as both parents would be expected to.

Judgements on Guardianship / Child Custody by the Family Courts

Whereas most Judgements on Guardianship / Child Custody are made by family courts in Pakistan once parental figures seek legal assistance in this matter, it is possible for any concerned party to make an appeal against the decision if they feel it does not align with what is best for the future welfare of their dependents. Once an official complaint has been filed against a lower court’s ruling on custodial matters during the marriage, it will then be passed along to the Appellate Bench for review and consideration. If your case is accepted on appeal based on its merits and the circumstances of your separation from your spouse, you may find yourself receiving full or partial responsibility for your dependents later on (as long as you’re able).

Guardianship / Child Custody in Pakistan

The law governing Guardianship / Child Custody in Pakistan is the Custody of Children Act, 1959. It provides for the following:

  • The court has the power to appoint a guardian in cases where a child is unable to care for himself or herself or control his or her own property and affairs.
  • The court has the power to appoint a guardian where it finds that an individual lacks mental capacity.
  • A minor may have his/her upbringing supervised by a parent unless permission to do otherwise is granted by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Guardianship / Custody of Children is granted to the Parent who has the Ability to Provide the Best Physical and Moral Environment to the Child.

It is a well-accepted principle that children need stability in their lives, and they require constant nurturing (both physical and emotional) to be healthy and happy. This is the primary reason why the right parent is awarded custody of the child.

In order to decide which parent will be granted custody of your child, you must first understand Pakistan’s law on Guardianship / Child Custody. There are many aspects that will affect the decision-making process, but there are certain factors that deserve special mention. The court will take into consideration whether it is in the child’s best interest to have both parents present in his life.

You must also look at your child’s age (if he or she is less than 15 years old) and consider his or her wishes when deciding who should have legal custody over him or her. If you can see a possible future for your child through their dreams, desires, and aspirations, then you can rest assured that your wish for them to remain with you will be listened to by the court.

Guardian and Wards Act in Pakistan

Guardianship / Child Custody Law in Pakistan emphasizes the concept of “inherent jurisdiction.” It’s the primary power that a Court has over its jurisdiction and authority, and it’s generally measured by a Court’s ability to perform specific functions without having to resort to written orders or adjudication processes. In the case of Guardianship / Child Custody, this includes how a court uses its inherent powers over guardianship of minors. The inherent powers for guardianship include:

  • appointing guardians
  • removing and replacing guardians as provided under section 20(3) or 26(1)
  • appointing or changing where necessary after considering the provisions made under sections 17 (1) through 25 (2).

How to get Custody of a Young Child / Guardianship through a Court of law?

When the parents of a child have been divorced, the parent who has custody of the child normally retains custody after a court hearing. Both parents have an equal right to care for and raise their children, which is why each parent’s ability to do so is considered equally. Guardianship / Child Custody laws in Pakistan provide that one parent should not be denied his or her rights as a parent; if either parent has a good reason for wanting to keep or give up custody of his or her child, he or she can use this law to present his or her case.

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