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family law

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February 01, 2018

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UAE family matters Q&As: is my ex-husband entitled to spousal maintenance?

Question: My husband and I are getting a divorce. He lost his job a few months ago and I am still working in Dubai. He is asking me for spousal maintenance. Do I have to pay?

Answer: Under Sharia law, the wife does not have to pay anything towards the maintenance of the husband or children, even if the husband does not have a job. Maintenance is exclusively the father and husband's burden regardless of whether the mother or father have custody of a child. It is never possible for a father to claim child maintenance from the mother. The father is always the legal Guardian of a child under UAE law and part of his role as Guardian is to have financial responsibility for the child.

Question: What can I claim for myself after my husband divorced me?

Answer: Firstly, the compensation called Nafket motaa. This claim by the wife is for year's worth of expenses to cover her "moral harm".

Secondly, the wife can claim compensation from the husband if she can prove that he did not financially support her during the marriage. The maximum limit for this backdated claim is three years.

Thirdly is the Nafet Eda. This is the financial claim that the wife could make from the husband for him to support her financially for the three month after the divorce, which is the 'waiting period'. The waiting period is to ensure that a wife is not pregnant following the divorce. If you are Muslim and you have Islamic marriage certificate where it has agreed 'Maher' to be paid in case of divorce (Moakher) your husband will have to pay it.

Question: My wife and I both have joint assets and we have mutually agreed to file for a divorce. How will our joint assets be divided?

Answer: Either party may claim for a share of any jointly owned assets or for a share of any assets to which they assert that they made a contribution. This claim is irrespective of marriage or divorce, it is a contractual claim. Unless there is evidence to the contrary, the court may order sale and division of any jointly owned property, or division of any jointly owned bank accounts. Alternatively, if the parties had entered into an agreement outlining the division of assets on divorce, either could apply to the court to enforce that contract under civil law. Either parties claim against jointly owned property or property specified in a written agreement would be restricted to property in Dubai.

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