Family Law FAQs



No not at all, UAE laws, Article 146/6 and 156 of Federal Law No. 28/2005 – the Personal Status Law, clearly states that ‘the wife shall retain custody of children till they reach custody age, i.e. 11 for boys and 13 for girls’. Therefore your husband cannot lawfully remove your children from your care.

With regards to financial support, Article 67 of Federal Law no.28/2005 also states that, ‘the husband is obligated to provide for the children’s expense and the wife’s expenses for a period of the whole marriage or the months where he did not provide with a maximum backdated effect of 36 months at the time of divorce’. Therefore he is legally obligated to support you and your children. He also has to support you financially during your ‘iddat’ period, this is the three months after the divorce and is referred to in Article 69.

My husband has not paid my dowry (a sum of money promised during our Nikkah) and we are now getting divorce, he says I have no right to it anymore, is this true? It was a promise he made to me and my father.


This is incorrect, Article 53 of the Personal Status Law clearly states that if a women seeking a divorce is a Muslim woman and her husband has not paid her the dowry sum, she is legally entitled to receive as per the agreed sum.

I am getting divorced following years of domestic abuse, both physical and emotional. I am not able to work currently due to the stress I am suffering, can I get my ex-husband to support me financially for a while as this stress is due to him.


Yes, you are legally entitled to get financial rights for domestic abuse, as well as others applicable to your case, ie if you have children he has to support them financially and during your issat period he will have to support you financially as well.

Is it true I am not allowed to leave my house for 3 months following my divorce?


No this is not true, you are legally allowed to carry your day as your normally would, including working, however, you are not permitted to re-marry until the completion of your 3 month waiting period, or iddat period.

I have recently found out that my husband is having an affair and I have evidence. How do I proceed for a divorce?


Adultery is a criminal offence and you are entitled to file a criminal case against your husband under Article 356 of UAE Federal Law No 3 of 1987 – the Penal Code. If based upon your evidence he is found guilty, then he will face a likely jail sentence and a definite deportation back to his home country (if this is applicable to your circumstances).You are also able to file for a divorce at the Moral and Family Guidance Section of the Dubai Courts. Please be aware that the first step is always to attempt reconciliation with the aide of a trained counsellor. However, if there is mutual consent for a divorce the case is then issued in the Courts.


When the child is all grown-up and can provide for his/her own, then the child can do whatever he/she wants. But until then, children don’t have the luxury to choose which parent to live with.

According to Article 156 of Federal Law No 28 of 2005 for Personal Affairs, when a son reaches the age of 11, he will have to live with his father. Same with the daughter, when she reaches the age of 13, her father will have to take care of her. But until those ages are met, they have to live with their mother; and the father will have to provide financial support, from education, and housing, to medical care.

However, there are other factors that determine who gets the children’s custody.  The mother has every right to extend her son’s custody until he finishes schooling, and her daughter gets married. On the other hand, a father can have custody if he feels that the mother is not doing a good job, making their children responsible enough. All of these are still decided by a judge.

Our family used to live in the UAE when I was younger. Unfortunately, we had to go back to the USA because my mother got ill. And for some reasons, she incurred unpaid debts. Years have gone by and I want to move back to the United Arab Emirates. The problem is I’m scared that when I visit the UAE, I will be made accountable for my mother’s debt.


Fret not, because it will never happen to you. Articles 246 and 710 of the UAE Federal Law No. 5 of 1985 of the Civil Code mention that not paying debt is a actually a criminal law.

Good thing is that the debtor’s family/relatives are not responsible for his/her liabilities and actions.

In other words, if you borrow money, you’re the one who should pay for it. Relatives of the debtor might be contacted by the banks, but it’s only to ask questions and verifications.

Can I travel to the UAE alone even though I’m only 16?


The answer is “No.”  If you’re already considered as an adult, which is 18 to 21 in the United Arab Emirates, then you can do whatever you want. You have the opportunity to enter the country and enjoy its beautiful tourist spots.

However, it’s a different story when you’re a minor and you want to travel in the United Arab Emirates. You need to ask for your parents’ approval. You must present a signed letter of consent from your non-traveling parents.

On June 1, 2018, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs-Dubai (Immigration) has implemented the said procedure in order to prevent cases like child trafficking. According to the new regulation, failure to follow the rule will result to the minor’s deportation.

My husband recently died in a car accident and has a lot of money in his bank account. Due to his untimely demise, he wasn’t able to create a will. We don’t have children. The question is, as his surviving spouse, am I entitled to his assets?


This issue is manageable, but it will take time to process such. It may take you weeks and sometimes, months, considering that there is no will to back you up. The legal system of the UAE relies heavily on the last will and testament.

You are definitely entitled to his money, but access to your deceased husband’s accounts will be hard. Also, even if you have joint accounts, it will still be impossible to have an immediate access to it.

Despite this, once the deceased person’s debts (if there are any) have been paid, and there is already a go signal from the UAE Court, then that’s the time you’ll be granted access to your husband’s savings/money.

However, because the UAE follows the Sharia Law, your husband’s assets may or may not be distributed to certain family members, leaving you with a portion of his estate.

Now, if you’re deceased husband is not from the UAE and failed to create a will, the local court will follow the Federal Law No. 5 of 1985, which talks about the Civil Transaction Law of the UAE, and Federal Law No. 28 of 2005, which is about the UAE Personal Status Law. These laws are about ways on how to distribute your husband’s assets properly.


Your husband cannot get off that easily. As his wife, it’s your husband’s duty to take care of you. As his spouse, you have every right to be treated with respect and honor.

In the simplest way possible, you may file for a divorce without harming your status or well-being. By doing this, rest assured that you will obtain the legal rights to alimony, which is a court-ordered provision for a financial support, claim for maintenance, and even compensation for moral damage. He must support you until you remarry.

You are protected by the Article 63 of the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005. It talks about the Concerning Personal Status Law.

Growing up, I’ve always witnessed my family member verbally abusing another member. It was heartbreaking for me, to be honest. I want to defend that person. Can I file a case on behalf of my abused family member?


The only time you can file for a criminal case against the abuser is when you’re the one who experienced the verbal abuse. For the meantime, you can ask the abused family member to file it themself and you will be the witness.

First thing that they need to do is to file a police report; it will then be escalated to the court.

The abused will be backed up with Article 374 of the Penal Code if married to each other or parent to a child. If the abuser is proven guilty of he will be detained for a period of six months and must pay a fine of Dh5, 000.

Unfortunately, up until now, the UAE does not really have a specific law or rule on dealing with the said violence.

My wife and kids are my life; however, I’ve been involved with another woman for almost seven years now. My wife found out about this. She has threatened toharm herself and says that she will document everything and would make me reason for it.

I’m afraid of what she will do. I need your professional help, please.


Adultery is a solid crime in the United Arab Emirates. If you are proven guilty, you will have to be arrested between one to three years. And if you’re not from the country, you could face deportation.

All of this is possible if your wife has evidence of your indecent crime. Article 356 of 1987 is a UAE law that punishes adulterers.

My suggestion is for you to end your relationship with your mistress and focus on your family.

It started with a verbal abuse, until it became a physical assault. I want to report him; however, I needed proof.

I manage to record one instance where he abused me physically. Is it possible to present an audio recording of the incident?


As much as we want to achieve fairness and justice, I’m afraid it will take a little bit more time and effort to achieve it as it is illegal to record someone without their consent. If you had any chance of using that recording you need approval/permission by the police department.

The United Arab Emirates does not really have solid law against such crimes. There is a law, which is the Article 53; however it only applies when violence or abuse reaches a certain extent. The Sharia Law is responsible for these limits.

Despite this, you can still file a report to the police and proceed to the Public Prosecution to win your case. To be honest, your physical report alone is enough as proof that your husband assaults you. If you want to have solid evidence, then the audio recording will just strengthen your case. The audio recording might be used against you, because of the anti-wire tapping law, but if it will show how the abuse happens, then it could be used as evidence.

My children and I are Indians living here in the United Arab Emirates. My husband, who’s also an Indian and is working in Dubai, has been out of the picture for a while. We haven’t officially separated yet, and he’s already abandoning us. He does not want to support our family here in the UAE, especially our children.

Does UAE have a law that requires my husband to still support my children?


As a matter of fact, there is. Simply write a demand letter to your husband. It is accordance to Article 272 of the UAE civil Code, and has been amended by the Federal Law No. 1 of 1987.

If he still doesn’t respond to your demands, you as a mother have the right to file a legal case against him if he fails to support your children. You can file it before the UAE Family Courts.

Now, if that doesn’t work, there is still another way. You can ask for your husband’s employer in the UAE to transfer payments directly to you out of his salary.

We have a young daughter, and I’m afraid of what might happen to us after the divorce. I also don’t want him to get the custody of our child.


You can file for a divorce, but make sure that you have solid evidence that your marriage with him is not working anymore.

The process of divorce might take a long time, however, if it’s finalized, then you will be granted with alimony rights and other maintenance.

In the Article 156 of Federal Law No 28 of 2005 for Personal Affairs, the mother will take care of her daughter until she reaches the age of 13. She can also extend the custody until her daughter gets married.

Also don’t worry about you and your child’s financial and other support, because as the legal guardian, your husband needs to provide all that.

After 15 years of marriage, my husband wants to divorce me.

I’m from the United Kingdom and my husband is a Muslim from the UAE. We were married in the UAE. To be honest, I don’t want to divorce him. I am not ready and I’m afraid that I’ll have nothing after the divorce is finalized.

What should I do? Can the divorce be withdrawn?


It is still possible to file for a divorce even though the parties involved do not agree with it. Your husband must’ve filed for a contested divorce. You have no choice but to come into agreement with him.

If that happens, the court will then decide the partition of properties and assets. This will determine how much or how many you’ll get after the divorce.

If you’re husband is Muslim and you’re not, the divorce process will fall under the Sharia Law. The judge must be convinced that the reasons for the divorce are valid in order for it to be finalized.

My wife and I have been married for 10 years, and we decided to end our relationship and get a divorce.

We have two lovely daughters ages 7 and 5. After the divorce, my wife decided to travel with my daughters outside the UAE. Up until now, they haven’t comeback. They traveled to the UK. I believe it is not right that she took my children away from me. I want them to go back here in the UAE.


The only thing that ended after your divorce was your relationship with your wife, not your responsibility and rights with your daughters. In this case, you have every right to fight back.

Remember that it is illegal for your wife to leave or go outside the country with your daughters without your approval. The incident, which is a very sensitive one, could be deemed as child/children abduction. Article 149 of the Personal Status Law clearly states that the custodian, who is the mother, cannot take the children outside the country without the guardian’s written consent. Your wife’s action also violates Article 150 of the Personal Status Law.

I’ve been married with my husband for more than 6 years now. And up to this date, he hasn’t allowed me to get a job; to support myself and have a life. I thought he would compensate me by providing for my financial needs, but that didn’t happen.

He won’t give me money even though I ask him nicely.

Do I have rights over this marriage? What should I do?


As per the UAE Law, under the Article 63 of the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005, you as a Muslim wife don’t only deserve a house and food maintenance. You are also entitled to have financial support from your husband.

You have the option to file for a divorce if your husband fails to follow such basic law and rights. You deserve to be treated well and your husband should not deprive you of what you want in life.

Article 124 of the Personal Law is a helpful law that explains your rights as a Muslim wife.

I’m not Muslim; however, I’ve been living and working in the UAE for more than 10 years now. My non-Muslim wife and I got married outside the country. We also have a five-year old son. We’re having a lot of problems because of our differences.

Is it possible for me to file for divorce here in the UAE? What will happen to my son? Can I have a visitation right?


To give you a quick background, UAE does allow you to file for a divorce here despite not being a Muslim. Using the UAE’s jurisdiction, you can either choose to follow the civil procedures of the UAE or your own religious personal laws.

Mind you, that when you choose the court system of the UAE to process your divorce, it will be finalized in no time.

Also, we advice that you present a strong and valid evidence for your divorce.

Since your son is only five years old, UAE law states that until he reaches the age of 11, he will be under the care of your wife. Don’t worry because you will be granted permission to visit him and take care of his needs. And when the time comes that he’s already 11 years old, he can live you and get his custody. That is under Article 156 of Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 for Personal Affairs.

My husband is a Filipino and I am a Muslim and we have been married for three years and are constantly fighting. We are not yet divorced.

Because I’m tired of all the drama and fighting, I decided to move out for the meantime.

One day, he told me that he will divorce me and that I need to look for a job with visa or apply for one if I wish to stay in the UAE. I’m on my husband’s visa. He is threatening to cancel my visa. What should I do? I don’t want to leave UAE just yet.

I’m seeking for your professional advice on this matter.


Your problem is not an isolated case, and we can help surely help you out.

Personal Status Law No. 28 for the year 2005 mentions that your husband does not have the right to cancel your residence visa, considering that you are still married to him. In line with the inevitable divorce, he still needs to provide you with shelter, and pay for your expenses.

Another thing is that, On October 2018, the UAE presented a new visa for divorced women. Even though you don’t have any sponsors, this visa will give you the opportunity to apply for a one-year residence visa extension.

Present the following to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs to apply for this visa:

  • Proof of divorce
  • Medical fitness certificates
  • Evidence of a place where you live
  • Source of income

However, if you want a solid residence visa, I suggest you really look for a job that process residence visa or set up a free zone company.


I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you cannot marry your non-Muslim boyfriend in the United Arab Emirates. This is based on the Article 47/8 of the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005.

On the other hand, a Muslim man can most certainly marry his non-Muslim girlfriend.

Can my husband file for a divorce in the UAE, where we got married even though I’m already here in the U.K. because my visa has been expired?


As you don’t have a residence visa, your husband cannot file for a divorce in the UAE.

Side note, if you’re residence visa is still working; he can then file for a divorce in the UAE, assuming that you and your husband were married under the Sharia Law.

I want to have a prenuptial agreement before marriage.

I’m about to marry my boyfriend next year. But before this, I want to sign a prenuptial agreement to protect me and my future. Is it okay for me to do that? By the way, my boyfriend also agrees with it.


Even though both of you agree to have a prenuptial agreement; it is not valid in the United Arab Emirates.

What you can do is to have a Postnuptial Agreement, instead. The process will however, happen after your marriage. In this process, you will create the terms of financial arrangement between you and your now husband.

According to the Article 62/1 of the Personal Status Law of the UAE, both of you can continue to have your individual properties after the divorce.

My Filipina friend is working here in the UAE since 2010. She is single up to this date and she just told me that she’s having signs of pregnancy. What are the things that she needs to understand if ever she’s really pregnant?


Tell your friend that in the United Arab Emirates, if an unmarried woman became pregnant she will be accused of adultery, which is punishable by law.

In the Article 365 of the UAE Penal Code, it is considered a crime to get pregnant before marriage. Your friend and her partner will be arrested and they will be deported even though it’s against their will.

They have two choices. One is to get married, but if they feel that it’s not the answer, then they can go back to their home country.

My wife and I are getting a divorce and I just lost my job. Is it possible for me to ask for a spousal maintenance to my wife?


No. The United Arab Emirates Sharia Law states that your wife has neither financial obligation to you nor to your children. You, on the other hand, are responsible for all of that.

Under the law, you will always be the legal guardian who provides for his family.

Since we got married, my husband hasn’t provided for me. He always wants me to visit my family for days, sometimes, months.

Now, he wants a divorce, but I’m against it. He also mentioned that he won’t support me after the divorce. What should I do?


As his wife, he should treat you with kindness and always support you. With that in mind, he should also provide for you and your children. It’s under the Sharia Law, and it’s a basic right for the wife.

Regarding the divorce case, you can’t do anything about it, but because it’s against your will, your husband is obliged by the law to compensate you with Nafket Mota’a. Considering that you suffered from moral damage, your husband should pay for your expenses (one year in total).

If you can also prove that he’s not supporting you financially during your marriage, you are given the right to claim compensation (backdating for three years).


Yes, you can; the UAE law supports that decision. As a matter of fact, you have the right to marry your wife for the second time.

Simply file for a new marriage contract and a new dowry then you’re good to go. This act is actually supported by the Article 104 and 108 of Law 28 of 2005, which is the Personal Status Law.