family law


August 18, 2019



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My husband forced me on holiday and now won't let me return - help!

Question: My husband has been pushing me to leave him in Dubai and visit my family in my home country for some time. After I left, he said he could not afford for me to return to Dubai because of credit card debt and job insecurity. Eventually I realised that he just wants to live alone and avoid my expenses. His intention was to abandon me and I now have to work to support myself in my home country. What is the cost of hiring a lawyer in the UAE? Can I demand that my husband pay my legal fees as I expect to the win the case?

Answer: Under UAE law, a husband is obligated to cover maintenance expenses - including food, clothing, accommodation, medical treatment and a domestic helper - that are needed and suitable for a married couple.

The law also says that a wife can claim reimbursement of her backdated expenses for up to the past three years, if her husband has failed to provide her with the previously described maintenance.

With this in mind, you can visit the UAE and file a case to claim maintenance expenses from your husband. Such a case can be filed independently of a divorce case.

Lawyer's fees vary depending on numerous factors including, among others, legal experience, litigation strategy and the complexity of the case. Within your maintenance case against your husband, you can submit a request for him to reimburse your legal fees. Whether this will be granted to you is subject to the court's discretion.

Question: What are the steps required for a Muslim woman to file for divorce in Dubai? I would like to understand the procedure to send a notice to my husband and would like to know if there would be any counselling sessions which my husband should attend.

Answer: To start a divorce process in the UAE, you need to approach the Family Guidance Department - which is located within the premises of the Personal Status Courts - and register your divorce application.

The Department may take measures to notify your husband about your divorce application with the contact details shared by you.

Upon registration of your divorce application, a hearing will be scheduled where both you and your husband should be physically present before the counsellor.

The Department may try to pursue an amicable solution such as a reconciliation or a mutual divorce between the parties. If the dispute cannot be resolved amicably, the Department may provide a No Objection Certificate.

Subsequently, you need to move to the Personal Status Courts to register a divorce case. After the successful completion of the court proceedings, the judge may deliver an appropriate ruling on divorce.


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