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June 14, 2019
Question: I had been living in the UAE with my husband, who works in Dubai, but recently travelled to India to give birth to our child. My husband and his mother are now fighting with me and his mother is constantly telling him to divorce me. I don't want a divorce and I can't travel to the UAE until I have delivered my child. What do you recommend I do?
Answer: If your husband decides to divorce you against your will and without a valid reason, he is legally obligated to compensate you. This compensation is called Nafket Mota'a. As per Article 140 of the UAE Personal Status Law, the compensation shall be paid for up to one year for the damage suffered by the wife from this divorce.
The husband must also provide maintenance support during the waiting (Iddah) period - the three month period after the divorce.
Additionally, Article 156 of the UAE Personal Status Law provides that a mother shall receive custody of the child unless it affects the child's best interest. Should you have a son, you would be given custody of him until he turns 11 and if you have a daughter; custody will last until she turns 13.
He would also be obligated to pay you financial support as long as you have custody of the child. Financial support includes covering education, food, clothes, medical insurance, housing, transportation, and other daily needs subject to the husband's income.
If before the divorce, your husband refused to provide you with maintenance support, you can claim reimbursement of your backdated expenses for up to 36 months.
As your husband is a resident of the UAE, you may visit the Emirates after you are medically fit to travel and register your claim against your husband.
You may also appoint a lawyer in the UAE to send a Legal Notice to your husband to inform him about your legal rights and the claims you have against him - which may discourage him to proceed with divorce.
Question: My partner and I would like to execute a prenuptial contract between us, which will separate our properties and provide that each person is liable to their own debts. Will this be valid in the UAE?
Answer: Prenuptial Agreements are not valid in the UAE. You may enter into a Postnuptial Agreement any time after your marriage. This agreement will set out the terms of financial arrangement between the parties.
The wife may agree to reduce, increase or waive the payments towards her expense allowance. This agreement cannot waive the custody rights and maintenance for children. As per Article 62/1 of the UAE Personal Status Law, each party continues to retain their individual property owned by them after the divorce.
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.