February 24, 2016
Following a No Objection Certificate from the Family Guidance committee, the parties can file their family case in the Dubai Courts. In the second part of the of the guide through family court proceedings, we shall be outlining some of the common mistakes made by parties while entering into settlement agreements due to the absence of a competent attorney and sound legal advice.
We have experienced that some parties sign the settlement agreement without taking advice from a specialized lawyer, and this has led to some very serious repercussions for the parties and their future. It is prudent to mention here that such settlement agreements cannot be amended unless both parties consent to the amendment. Below are some of the most common adverse outcomes of signing without a lawyer:
Some of the agreements are worded in a manner that says "it is agreed that the custody of the children is given to the mother". The husband signs on this clause presuming that his custody shall belong to mother due to the ages of the children (13 for a female child and 11 for a male child) because the children are under age.
The two tricks are:
Firstly, less access to the child with the above clause, since the father has not restricted the mother's custody of the children based on their age, it is presumed that even after the ages of 13 and 11, the kids shall remain with the mother, since the father has waived his right to custody. This shall limit the father's contact with the child as it is more challenging to get custody following such an agreement.
For more information on what precautions to take or what steps to follow in the event of such an agreement, please contact your lawyer.
Secondly, additional Financial Liability. If the mother retains the custody of the child from the ages of 11 or 13 up to 21 years of age, the father shall be liable to pay the child maintenance for that additional period of time which could be up to 10 more years, without the complete information from the mother on where the money is spent.
Although according to article 110 of Law no 28 of 2005, the right of custody cannot be waived, nevertheless, agreement to certain conditions in the settlement agreement makes the claim more challenging as the court is well within its right to refuse the removal of such clauses from the contract.
Knowledge of Law; another problem which might surface would be one of the parties claiming that they were unaware of the laws of the UAE as this is a foreign o\country to them.
This is also why it is recommended that both parties seek sound legal advice before entering into such settlement agreements in the Family Court as it could have a serious effect on their future rights and obligations towards the other party.