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June 30, 2019
Question: I am a British national living in the UK and my husband, who is also British, lives in the UAE. I've recently discovered that he has been cheating on me with a British woman residing in the UAE. The woman frequently travels between the Emirates and the UK. Could you tell me what my rights and options are should I decide to pursue a case against my husband?
Answer: You can file a criminal case of adultery against your husband and the other woman. As per Article 356 of the UAE Penal Code, the offence carries a sentence up to one year and mandatory deportation. However, the prosecution and the criminal courts have the discretion to decide on the validity of the evidence submitted by you. You can also file a divorce case against him on the grounds of adultery.
Question: I am an Indian citizen and my wife is from Pakistan. After being married for a few years we decided to divorce and approached the Family Guidance Centre. We then decided to give each other some more time and cancelled our request. A few months later, my wife abandoned me, changed her phone number and I have had no knowledge of her whereabouts since. Can I file for divorce in her absence and will this divorce request be accepted?
Answer: You can approach the Family Guidance Department within the premises of the Personal Status Court to register your divorce application. If your wife is in the UAE, the department will contact her for an amicable divorce settlement. If the department cannot reach the other party, they refer the matter to the court. If you can prove that you do not know your wife's location, the UAE courts shall have jurisdiction on your divorce case as per Article 6.5 of the UAE Personal Status Law and Article 21.6 of the UAE Civil Procedure Code.
Question: I am 6 months pregnant and my husband is physically and mentally abusing me. Can I file a case against him?
Answer: Physical abuse by the husband is a crime in the UAE. If there is a mark on your body evidencing your husband's abuse, you can report to the police and simultaneously obtain a medical report from the hospital. Such a violent behaviour is also a ground for a divorce case. Accordingly, you can claim all your rights including financial claims from him in the divorce case.
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.