SHAHRAZAD D. QAISI APPELLANT
ANIS YOUSEF ALAEDDIN APPELLEE
FROM HARDIN CIRCUIT COURT FAMILY COURT, DIVISION I HONORABLE
PAMELA ADDINGTON, JUDGE ACTION NO. 16-CI-00519
FOR APPELLANT: J. Russell Lloyd Louisville, Kentucky.
FOR APPELLEE: Mary Eleanor Burnett Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
BEFORE: CLAYTON, CHIEF JUDGE; MAZE AND TAYLOR, JUDGES.
D. Qaisi appeals from a January 26, 2017, Findings of Fact,
Conclusions of Law and Order of the Hardin Circuit Court,
Family Court Division, declining to register documents from
courts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). After careful
review, we affirm.
and Appellee Anis Yousef Alaeddin were married and lived in
Dubai with their two minor children. In 2013, a Dubai court
issued a document styled a "divorce
certificate." That same year, the court issued a
document memorializing an agreement between the parties
whereby "[t]he custody of the children . . . shall be
proved for the Second Party [Qaisi]." Dubai Courts
Document 37/2013 at 1. The document does not explain the
precise meaning of custody being "proved for"
Qaisi, nor did the parties cite Dubai, U.A.E., authority to
explain the phrase. In early 2016, a Dubai court issued a
document approving an amended agreement between the parties
whereby the children were designated to live with Qaisi while
Alaeddin "shall not claim custody until the sons reach
the legal age." Dubai Courts Document 154/2015 at 2. The
document does not specify the "legal age," nor have
the parties cited clarifying Dubai, U.A.E., authority.
March 2016, Qaisi, who had moved from Dubai to Kentucky,
filed a petition asking the Hardin Family Court to register
those three Dubai documents described above. Presumably, the
petition was filed to enforce the custody and support
provisions therein. Alaeddin made a limited appearance to
object to the petition. Thereafter, the family court
scheduled a hearing for October 2016. No testimony was
presented at the hearing; instead, the trial court ordered
the parties to submit briefs on whether the Dubai documents
could properly be registered in Kentucky as a foreign decree.
Without citing to any authority to buttress his position,
Alaeddin's brief below asserted that "in Dubai, a
mandate exists that small children initially are in the
custody of their mother, but when a male child turns 8,
custody is then automatically transferred to the father to
finish his rearing." In Qaisi's reply brief below, she
disagreed - again without citation to relevant authority -
arguing that "Dubai does follow the . . . 'best
interest of the child' standard. . . . No blanket law
exists about custody transferring to the father at a
January 26, 2017, the family court issued Findings of Fact,
Conclusions of Law and Order declining to register the Dubai
documents. The court noted the documents did not contain an
express grant of custody nor did the record show whether the
Dubai court had considered the best interest of the children.
Thus, the court concluded "there is insufficient
evidence for this Court to conclude that this document [sic]
utilized the . . . best interest standard, [so] this Court
finds that this is a violation of the fundamental principles
of human rights under the laws of the Commonwealth of
Kentucky . . . ." Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law
and Order at 4-5. This appeal followed.
of a child custody determination from a foreign country is
governed by Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 403.806, which is
part of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and
Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). KRS 403.806 provides in its
entirety as follows:
(1) A court of this state shall treat a foreign country as if
it were a state of the United States for the purpose of
applying Articles 1 and 2 [of the UCCJEA].
(2) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3) of this
section, a child custody determination made in a foreign
country under factual circumstances in substantial conformity
with the jurisdictional standards of KRS 403.800 to 403.880
shall be recognized and enforced under Article 3 [of the
(3) A court of this state need not apply KRS 403.800 to
403.880 if the child custody law of a foreign country
violates fundamental principles of human rights.
party seeking relief, Qaisi bore the burden to show that the
Dubai court documents: a) contained a child custody
determination, b) which was made "in substantial
conformity with the jurisdictional standards of KRS 403.800
to 403.880" and, c) the Dubai, U.A.E., child custody
decision did not violate fundamental principles of human
rights. See, e.g., 31A C.J.S.
Evidence §195 (2019) ("In general, the
party invoking the judicial process in its favor bears the
burden of production and persuasion . . . . The burden of
proof in a civil proceeding generally rests on the party
requesting relief or the moving party.") (footnotes
omitted); Colovo's Adm'r v. Gouvas, 108
S.W.2d 820, 822 (Ky. 1937) ("The burden in the entire
action lies upon the party ...