Raising the age of maternal custody in Sunni confessions
Since Lebanon lacks a unified civil personal status code, maternal custody remains one of the many contentious areas governed by several confessional laws. There are continuous efforts, however, to amend these laws to cater to the needs of Lebanese society. One of the recent achievements in this area was raising the age of maternal custody from seven years for boys and nine years for girls to 12 years for both in Sunni confessions. Furthermore, extending maternal custody remains at the discretion of judges, and is contingent upon the child’s interest. Though this is an important achievement, relinquishing the right to legislation in matters of custody to religious courts and authorities continues to undermine the authority of the Lebanese Parliament over its legislative mandate. It is worth noting that other confessions and religious groups had raised the age of maternal custody at a prior stage; in 2003, the Greek Orthodox confession raised it from seven years to 14 years for boys and from nine to 15 years for girls (Article 57). In 2005, the Evangelical confession raised it from seven years to 12 years for boys and girls (Article 62).