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April 07, 2016
Question: I am a non-Muslim Asian man. I discovered that my wife is having an affair with another man. I know it is a criminal offence in the UAE and I want to know about the punishment for such an offence. I would also like to know what kind of evidence is required to file a criminal case?
Answer: The punishment for adultery in the UAE is between one and three years imprisonment and deportation. However, a judge has the discretionary power to suspend the jail sentence altogether or reduce it significantly.
If you are planning to proceed with criminal charges against your wife and her boyfriend you should provide any kind of evidence you have, including witnesses, photos, videos, emails, messages exchanged or a letter of admission from your wife to you.
In general, the criminal court has full discretionary powers to evaluate and determine whether or not your wife committed adultery based on the subjective evidence you produce.
Bear in mind that if you want to proceed with criminal charges, the evidence submitted or investigated will need to establish that your wife had a physical relationship with another man. Proof that she had an affair will be sufficient in the family court to win favourable verdicts in divorce and custody cases. However, in a criminal court, an allegation of adultery would need to be substantiated with proof that a physical relationship existed outside wedlock.
It is worth noting that you have the right to request the Judicial Authority to check the SMS exchanges between your wife and her boyfriend. In general, if you have partial or reasonable evidence then you have the right to launch a case. Prosecutors will then have full discretionary powers to order an investigation into the matter or not.
Question: My husband and I jointly own a house in the UAE but I have decided to divorce him. Is it possible for me to claim my share of the house through the family court case that is upon us?
Answer: Unfortunately, you will have to file your claim for your share of the house in a separate property case. The matter relating to your shareholding in the house will be investigated by the court, provided your name is mentioned on the title deeds and the house sale and purchase agreement. Keep in mind that court charges when it comes to property are greater than charges at the family court. Also, if you are planning to sell your share in the house and your husband offers to buy it at the market rate as estimated by the court, your husband will have priority.