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family law


June 22, 2018

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How long must I be married before I can file for divorce?

Question: I am a Muslim woman who recently married a Muslim man. It was an arranged marriage and now I feel things are not going well and we may end up divorcing. Although I hope it does not come to that I would like to be prepared and explore my options and know as I am not happy in this relationship. What is the minimum time period to file for divorce after getting married? Does a wife has to wait for a certain period to get divorced? I was told that I would have to stay married for a certain period of time before being able to apply for divorce. Is this true?

Answer: There is no specific time frame for which the wife must remain married before being eligible to apply for divorce. Divorce can be applied for at any time after getting married. Therefore, if you wish you can file for a divorce at anytime.

Question: I am an Asian woman who has been married to a Muslim man for 15 years. We have three children: a boy, 5, and two girls aged 7 and 10. Recently, I caught my husband cheating on me with another woman. I would like to file a case in the family courts against both of them and I want the courts to call both of them personally. Could you please advise if the family court can call the mistress? Also, I would like to know if I can also file a complaint in any other court.

Answer: No, in such cases, the family court will not call the mistress. They shall only call the husband as he is the one who is personally involved and has a family relation with the wife. However, if the wife wishes to take an action against both of them then she can file a criminal case. This criminal case can be filed against both the husband and the mistress and in this case even the mistress will be called by the investigation authority.

The wife has the right to file the case either in the family or in criminal courts. However, if the case has been filed in the family court as a matter of adultery, then the family courts may refer the case to criminal prosecution, although that falls under the full absolute discretionary power of the family courts to decide whether to transfer the respondent and the mistress to the criminal courts or not.

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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