Shafaqna (International Shia News Agency) – The Grand Ayatollah Sistani answered some questions regarding Child Custody. According to Shafaqna the questions and answers are as follows:
Question: A woman, who is not obedient to her husband and does not carry out her matrimonial obligations, had, without his consent, left her matrimonial home and stayed with her parents for seven months. She, then went to a non-Islamic court, filed a divorce application, and demand maintenance and custody of the children. Has such a woman, who has violated her marital duties, any right in anything from her husband?
Answer: The said woman is not entitled to shari’i maintenance. As for her dowry and her right in nursing her offspring for the hawlayn (the two years), it should not be forfeited by virtue of nushouz (recalcitrance of the woman toward her husband).
Question: A wife neither obeys her husband nor fulfills her marital duties; she also goes out without his permission to stay with her own family for seven months. Then instead of having recourse to Islamic laws, she goes to a non-Islamic court in order to get spousal maintenance, custody of the children, and divorce from her husband. Does such a wife have the right in getting anything from her husband? In such a situation, when she goes to non-Islamic court it will apply non-Islamic laws to grant her divorce and her rights (spousal support and custody of children), does she deserve her full spousal rights?
Answer: The wife mentioned above does not deserve the spousal maintenance from a shari’a point of view. But her mahr (dowry) and her right of custody of children (under the age of two) should not be suspended because of her disobedience.
Source: Ayatollah Sistani