It is very sad and displeasing to Allah-SWT when people divorce. But whether they divorce or stay married the legal right of fathers in Islam does not change, he is the sole owner. The physical custody right may change (and even that is limited to those that choose to practice the deen) but legal right simply does not. Female ownership of children did not exist in the time of the prophet (sallalahu alayhi wassallam) and it does not now.
Inshallah, I will be spending the remaining portion of my 3 year old baby step- daughter’s life with her and I am afforded no visitation exposure to my biological daughter what-so-ever. But I personally can no more gain ownership of my step-daughter than I can lose ownership of my biological daughter, ISLAMICALLY.
Sharia in all schools name the biological father “al wali” and the SOLE legal guardian of any child he parents including their person and possessions. Period. A mother generally has an initial right to physical custody, but never legal, custody of her child until the child reaches the age of custodial transfer. Unless she remarries. Then to have physical custody, all juristic schools maintain that a mother must not be married to a stranger (a non-relative) or to a relative who is not in a prohibited degree of relation to the child.
Followers of the rasulallah should accept and honor these examples or simply choose another religion because just like the decree concerning marriage then “you are not from amongst” him.
The right to physical custody is not an absolute right in the sense that a mother or father who possesses physical custody may not prevent the other parent from seeing the child. Therefore either way they both always have physical right to see a child. BUT LEGAL RIGHT IS ABSOLUTE.
All schools and the shia agree that upon the dissolution of the marriage, a woman loses the right of custody of their children to their father after the age of 7 for girls and 2 for boys.
Though there are some differences in opinion by school concerning when it should take place.
A father has sole right of guardianship over his children.
Upon his death, the paternal grandfather acquires this right. In the latter’s absence anyone who had been nominated by the father is entitled to the guardianship.
But reality is reality. Islam does not afford legal ownership of children to females nor their families; that legal ownership whether physical interaction or ownership ever happens or not always rests with the biological father and his family.
“The child is an extension of his father and the bearer of his characteristics. During his lifetime he is the joy of his father’s eyes, while after his death he represents a continuation of his existence and an embodiment of his immortality. He inherits his features and stature as well as his mental qualities and traits, both the good and the bad, the beautiful as well as the ugly, from his father. The child is a part of his father’s heart and a piece of his body. “