The Wife’s Rights to a Dowry

In certain cases, standard form marriage certificates in the UAE can be altered to allow room for special conditions, like giving the woman the ability to petition for divorce. The special condition we will focus on here is the dowry paid from the husband to the wife, or ‘Mahar’. The law that governs the Mahar is Law 28 of the Personal Status Law.

  • Article 52 defines the time(s) at which the wife can claim the Mahar but also limits her rights in certain circumstances. The Mahar can be requested upfront, at the time of the contract or after the marriage. There is the option to pay partially too, which the wife should agree to. The husband’s obligations are halved when a wife has previously been divorced.
  • Article 53 refers to situations where the husband refuses to pay the amount agreed to in the signed contract yet the marriage contract has already been entered into. In this case, any decisions of the court will generally go against the husband.
  • Article 55 gives full rights of ownership and receivership of Mahar to the wife. She can request to invoke her right as and when she decides.
  • Article 57 codifies this right and states that once the right is given in the contract, it must, under all circumstances, be given ‘as agreed’.
  • There is no provision in law to lower or reduce the Mahar. As such, we advise on external or subsidiary agreements at the time of marriage.

If you are looking to enter into a marriage contract in the UAE, it is a good idea to first seek legal advice. Dr. Hassan Elhais would be happy to discuss these matters with you. Please give him a call, so he can best advise you on how to proceed.


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