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February 09, 2017
Question: My husband abandoned me and my baby and he did not pay a single dirham for the delivery, so I want to know the consequences for him if I file a case against him. Am I eligible for financial support from him?
Answer: As per Article 6/2 of UAE Federal Law No.28 of 2005, the Personal Status Law, you have the right to file a case in the UAE to claim divorce from your husband based on the fact that he has abandoned or deserted you for more than six months. You would also have the right to claim compensation, or Nafakkit Muttaa, as per Article 140 of the same law. This article states that "if the husband divorced his wife, who married him in a correct marriage without any reason or demand on her side, she would deserve compensation after divorce in addition to the period of waiting expenses, according to the situation of the husband and of what does not exceed her counterpart's expense, and the judge has the right to allow the husband to pay by instalment according to the richness or the poverty of the husband". In addition to this compensation, you also have the right to claim other financial rights such as unpaid dowry, waiting period (Iddat) expenses, unpaid financial support backdated to 36 months et cetera. Since your child is still under custody age you would also be entitled to keep custody of the child and your husband would need to provide financial support for his/her upbringing. Even if your husband does not have any money, the court in most cases would enforce him to pay the minimum amount. You should note that you would need to be physically present in the UAE to file your case.
Question: I separated from my husband last year. Even though we have not officially gone to the courts for divorce proceedings, do I have the right to claim expenses for my children?
Answer: As outlined in the Personal Status Law No?5 of 2005, Article 174, a husband is regarded as the guardian, who is liable for the day-to-day expenses of his children. In the event of a divorce, custody of the children goes to the mother (unless there are special circumstances) as long as the children are under custody age (11 for a boy; 13 for a girl).
The above information might not apply if both parties are non-muslim. Starting from the 1st of February 2023, UAE issued specific family law to be applied between non-muslim expatriate residents in case none of them wanted to apply his/her home country's law in the UAE. To know more information about this law, please feel free to click this link.