family law


January 19, 2020



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My son was born before we got married - is this legal in the UAE?

Question: My husband recently received a very good employment offer in Dubai and we are planning to move to the UAE with our son. We were married only a few months ago. However, we had our son before we were married. I want to know if it is legal in the UAE to have a child out of wedlock.

Answer: Having sex outside of a marriage is a crime in the UAE, as per the Penal Code. Your child having been born out of wedlock is evidence of a prohibited physical relationship in the UAE. However, the provisions of the Penal Code only apply to those who commit a crime within the country. Since your son was born outside the UAE, you will not be subject to the aforesaid provision.

Question: My brother and his wife have decided to proceed with a mutual divorce. His wife left the UAE and does not wish to return. Is it possible for him to proceed with a divorce in the UAE?

Answer: If your brother and his wife have agreed to a mutual divorce in the UAE, the mutual divorce settlement agreement may be signed by both the parties and registered with the Personal Status Court in the UAE. If your brother's wife does not wish to visit the UAE, she may give power of attorney to a lawyer to sign the mutual divorce settlement agreement on her behalf.

Question: My husband fought with me few days ago and left the house. He has not returned home since then. I have learnt that he is staying with another woman and they are dating. I am not sure if this woman knows that she is living with a married man. Be that as it may, I want to pursue legal action against them.

Answer: Cohabitation of unmarried couples is illegal in the UAE. Such an act by your husband amounts to committing or inciting adultery. Article 356 of UAE Penal Code provides that anyone accused of a physical relationship outside of marriage, and if it can be established with solid proof, could be sentenced to jail for up to one year, followed by deportation. Adultery is also considered grounds for divorce, should you choose to pursue this option. It is advisable to consult a lawyer to seek legal assistance in pursuing the criminal and divorce case.

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