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family law


September 22, 2016

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Is an Ex-Wife Entitled to Inheritance?

Question: My friend was married to a Muslim man and they had a daughter together before he divorced her. He recently passed away, leaving another daughter from his first wife, whom he divorced before marrying my friend. What share would my friend and her daughter be entitled to in her former husband's assets, along with his brothers and sisters? Which authority should she approach for the inheritance processes

Answer: According to the Personal Status Law, divorced wives will not be entitled to any shares in a former husband's assets if the iddah [waiting] period has been completed. The daughters would be entitled to half each of their dead father's assets if he was not survived by his parents or siblings. If his parents are alive then the daughters' share would be one-third each, and the remaining one-third would be the parents' share. If his parents are not alive but he is survived by siblings the shares would be calculated in accordance with the Personal Status Law depending on the number and gender of siblings.

Inheritance issues are determined by the respective courts in each emirate and an inheritance certificate can be applied for to get the shares each party is entitled to. This inheritance certificate would then form the basis on which assets are.

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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