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March 02, 2017
Question: I am a western woman living in the UAE. I am considering marrying an Arab man but want to make sure that the marriage (which would be out of love) does not affect my earnings before the marriage and my retirement provisions, which are in the USA and Canada. I have been married before and I am concerned about the finances. I am willing to be a supportive wife and do what is necessary but I also want to secure my assets. Should I get a lawyer to draft a prenuptial agreement?
Answer: UAE law does not have the provision for a prenuptial agreement but you will be pleased to know that the law does state that a husband cannot claim any assets his wife has acquired from her earnings, whether these earnings were made before or after the marriage. In case you are concerned about your husband trying to apply his own laws in the divorce process, which could give him such rights, you could also add a special clause in your marriage contract under clause No. 20/1 of UAE Personal Status Law No. 28 of 2005, which states that "husbands shall adhere to their conditions except any conditions that sanction anything prohibited or forbid anything permissible". It is important to also consider Article No. 20/6, which states that "in case of denial, no conditions shall be valid except if it is expressly provided for in the legalised marriage contract". It is at the discretion of the court whether they accept the clauses or request it to be amended. Another alternative to safeguard your assets would be to have a postnuptial agreement signed by you and your husband after the marriage. It could come in the form of a separate agreement signed on any date after the marriage, even the next day. This postnuptial agreement can also be called a settlement agreement.