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family law

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October 13, 2016

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UAE Family Matters Q&A: Whose Divorce Claim Takes Precedence?

Question: I have filed for divorce against my husband in my home country. Can he file a divorce case against me in the UAE because we are residents here?

Answer: On numerous occasions applications have been made to UAE courts to dismiss proceedings because the same issue is being tried in a foreign court. In these instances, the UAE courts have often insisted that the person making the application produce a final judgment from the foreign court before it makes a decision. As a result, just because the same issue is being tried or heard in a foreign court does not mean that a UAE court would automatically refuse to hear the same case in the UAE. However, some judges have relied on Article 102 of Federal Law No. 11 of 1992 (the Civil Procedures Law) to suspend proceedings, if a party successfully establishes that the case was registered first in a foreign jurisdiction. So, your husband may still have the chance to file and proceed with his case in the UAE, it just depends on whether the court chooses to dismiss the case or wait on a ruling from the foreign court because the case was first registered in that jurisdiction.

Question: I am an Asian Muslim woman married to a Muslim man for five years. We have a four-year-old boy, but my husband only comes home for a couple of hours at a time. I am his second wife and his first wife does not know about us. Do I have the right to get a divorce from him because he's neglecting us?

Answer: As per Article 55/6 of UAE Federal Law No. 28 of 2005, the Personal Status Law, if a man has more than one wife he has to treat all of them equally. That your husband only spends two hours in your home can be considered unfair or a moral harm towards you. You may claim divorce on this ground. Since your boy is four, you have the right to claim custody and financial support.

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