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March 09, 2017
Question: I'm a Muslim woman from Asia whose husband converted to Islam before we got married in our home country under Sharia. We have three boys but my husband left to work in Abu Dhabi some time ago, because he said he wanted to work in the UAE. He promised that he would be back but now he's asked me for a divorce. I love my husband and I don't know why he wants to divorce me. I want to know what the best option is for me and my children right now but I really don't want him to divorce me.
Answer: You cannot make him continue the marriage if he chooses to divorce you, however, because he wants to do it without any proper reason, you can claim your full rights under Sharia law. This could include Nafakkit Muttaa, which allows you compensation after the divorce in addition to the waiting period expenses. In addition to this compensation, you also have the right to claim other financial rights such as unpaid dowry and any unpaid financial support backdated to 36 months. As you have children under your custody, you would also be entitled to financial support from your husband for their upbringing. When it comes to claiming financial support from a husband, the most important aspect is to prove his income, as this determines the amount of maintenance paid towards the children and the one-off lump sum amount to be paid to the wife. While claiming for these amounts many people focus purely on the amount they expect to receive and not the income, resulting in a weak claim and lower chances of success. Under Personal Status Law, the husband/father is liable to pay towards all expenses of his wife and children regardless of the woman's financial standing and income. Please bear in mind that, as per Article No 16/1 of this law, before any divorce case goes to court, couples are first directed to the family guidance committee, to see if there's any way that the differences can be resolved. This may require that you attend in person in the UAE.
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.