How separating in the UAE affects expats
he UAE court system can be a daunting prospect for expats - especially those who are going down the path of divorce. Nida Chaudhry, a solicitor working with TWS Legal Consultants in Dubai, answers some of the common questions.
This is the most common question expert family lawyers get asked. Legally, this is known as the concept of jurisdiction - specifically, where can a divorce actually happen.
In order for a court to accept a divorce application, that court must have jurisdiction.
The factors that will determine the possible choices include the country where the husband and wife were married, where they were born, the place where they habitually resided and/or the local UAE court.
Choosing the appropriate jurisdiction is critical due to the different outcomes that may arise in different courts. For example, in the UAE, the governing law is Sharia law, which does not typically grant spousal support. It is important to seek a lawyer’s advice when choosing a jurisdiction.
Yes, one of the avenues through which couples may obtain a divorce is through mutual consent. This means the couple agrees to the
Even where a wife is sponsored by her husband, she is not without a solution after divorce. First, her visa will not be automatically cancelled, her husband will have to take the step to actually go and cancel it. Secondly, an ex-wife maintains the right to obtain her own visa autonomously.
She may obtain employment, or set up a company, such as a free zone company, which would grant her a visa.
Under UAE Law, the male is 100 per cent responsible for the support of his children. As this would naturally include accommodation, which is a significant financial obligation, he would by default also be paying for the housing of his ex-wife. Many ex-wives with children find this aspect provides a tremendous financial relief. Conversely, this means that there is a great deal of weight on fathers going through a divorce because they are 100 per cent responsible for support as soon as there are children involved. This creates both a financial and mental battle for the father, especially for those who are not familiar with the cultural intricacies of Sharia law in a family breakdown.
A father has the option of obtaining a travel ban to prevent the wife from travelling with the children. However, this poses the situation where the wife cannot travel at all with her children, eliminating the possibility of vacations. He will have to make a decision to possibly risk losing his children permanently in another jurisdiction or to forego the children’s opportunity to travel with their mother on vacations.