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family law


June 07, 2020

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I want to divorce my husband - but can I keep the gifts he gave me?

Question: My spouse and I are Muslims from two different countries but live in the UAE. We had previously signed a prenuptial agreement but I heard that these are not valid in the UAE. Is this true and, if so, can you please suggest and alternative and explain the procedure of executing it.

Answer: Prenuptial agreements are not be valid in the UAE. Instead, you may enter into a postnuptial agreement immediately after the marriage. This agreement can be executed in the Family Guidance Department of the Personal Status Court in the emirate you live in. Generally, a postnuptial agreement can include matters related to finance, the wife's allowance and property. It does not include matters related to custody, maintenance for children or matters that are against public policy.

Question: My husband and I were married two years ago. He treated me very well initially. He would give me jewellery and take me on expensive holidays but over the past year, beginning a few months after we married, he has become very distant. He now often does not come home for days at a time. He has also stopped giving me any money and I have had to ask my father for some instead. As a result, I want to divorce him. Can he demand that I return the gifts he gave me if I proceed with the divorce?

Answer: According to Article 649/A of the UAE Civil Transactions Law, a gift made by one spouse to another during a marriage cannot be revoked.

Article 62/1 of the UAE Personal Status Law states that, each person will retain the ownership of the properties they owned after the divorce. These assets are considered to be the individual property of the spouse who holds the title of the property. Having said that and based on the circumstances and facts of the matter, the court may exercise its discretionary power.

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.

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