The decision on the child custody has a direct impact on the lives of children, as their complete dependence at this age is on the custodian for all matters related to their lives, such as nutrition, care, and attention.

In this article, we will explain the concept of custody, its associated legal procedures, eligibility for custody, and other details.


What is a child custody?

It is a legal right for a selected parent (or relative) to raise the child and take care of his or her affairs. Normally, the parents are the ones who take care of the child’s affairs, but how do we determine which of the parents is to become the custodian of the child in the event of a divorce or separation?


Who is entitled to child custody?

Originally, the Iraqi law prioritized the mother for the right of child custody in the event of divorce. However, the court may select the most appropriate parent for the custody of the child.


The judge considers several factors in the decision-making process:

  1.  If the child reaches the age of adolescence, he or she has the right to choose with which parent to live, whether with his or her father or mother. Medical committees are also sought to prove the interest of the child.

  2.  If neither of the parents are eligible for custody, according to the Iraqi law, the court will place the child under the custody of an eligible custodian.

  3. The court may also place the child in state run child residential institutional services.


Procedures and documents required to obtain a judicial decision for custody of the child:

  1. Filing a case with the competent personal status court

  2. Divorce contract, where applicable

  3. The identity of the personal civil status of the child and the mother

  4. After ascertaining whether the mother meets the conditions for full custody, the Personal Status Court issues a decision to hand over the child to the mother, or, in other words, declare the mother as the custodial parent of the child.

  5. The decision is executed through the implementation department which delivers the child to the mother

  6. The costs of this lawsuit, along with the stamp fee, do not exceed 7,000 Iraqi Dinars

The time period for reviewing and completing the subject matter of this legal process is 30 days.


What are the conditions for a person to become the custodial parent?

According to the Iraqi law, the custodian (woman or man) must fulfill the following conditions:

  1. The custodian must be an adult (over 18 years of age) to take care of the young child.
  2. The person enjoys his or her full mental capacity.
  3. Honesty and the capacity to raise a child.
  4. To be in a good health.

Does a child have the right to choose the custodian?

Yes, if the child under custody has reached the age of fifteen, he or she has the right to choose to live with any of his or her parents or one of his or her relatives until he or she reaches the age of eighteen.


How long does the custody last?

The duration of custody in the Iraqi Personal Status Law is ten years, and the court may decide to extend the custody of the child for one or two years, or until the child in custody reaches fifteen years of age, in line with the best interest of the child. The child has the right to choose the custodian after that.


What are the conditions for the non-custodial parent to visit the child?

The Iraqi law provides the non-custodial parent with the right to visit the child. This should be in agreement with the custodial parent.



  1. Article 57 of the Iraqi Personal Status Law. Click here

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