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Know Your Rights: Marriage Dissolution | Compensation

The dissolution of a marriage is a legal act that may not coincide with the emotional tearing asunder. Divorce is typically a painful process for all concerned. While it can take adults time to regain psychological equilibrium, there is also a threat to be involved in a court proceeding story claiming for compensation for children’s maintenance and support. However different jurisdictions have different solutions to the issue. In this article we will describe the question under Dubai and UAE Laws.
The United Arab Emirates is made up of Seven Emirates, of which Dubai is one. The UAE has a unified Federal court system which applies to five of the seven Emirates. Dubai is not one of these, and although it must apply the same Federal laws, it maintains its own court system. The Dubai courts have three facets: civil, criminal and Shari‘a courts. These three facets are further divided into separate courts. The Shari’a courts deal with personal status matters such as marriage, custody of children, maintenance, guardianship, divorce, and inheritance claims. The civil courts deal with civil and commercial issues and contractual matters and the criminal court of course with criminal matters.

In terms of applicable legislation, the legislation governing marital relations within the UAE is primarily governed by the Federal Law No.5 from 1985 (Civil Code, CC) and Federal Law No.28 from 2005 (Personal Status Law, PSL). The PSL were developed by the UAE in 2005 and are based on Shari’a laws. Shari’a laws are still referred to for their interpretation.

There are no laws in Dubai for claiming ‘ancillary relief’ on divorce, apart from child maintenance for a mother, and compensation type payments to the wife. Options for a financial claim following divorce would therefore be as follows:

Child custody and maintenance (Shari’a court)

Under article 78, 148 and 155 of the PSL, a mother would have custody of children on divorce until the boy is 11 and the girl 13. After this, custody could revert to the father, if he applies for it.

Child maintenance includes all financial costs that the mother would incur to care for a child, for example the provision of accommodation, food, children’s clothing, travel, and maid. Regardless of the wealth of the mother, this would still be payable by the father. The court would consider the father’s income, and the children’s needs, and make an appropriate order; this is usually a third of the father’s income. The Dubai courts have considerable powers for the enforcement of a child maintenance orders, for example attachments of earnings, seizure of goods, investigation of bank accounts etc.

Regardless of whether the mother or father have custody of a child, it is never possible for a father to claim child maintenance from 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.

Wife rights (types of claim)

Firstly, the compensation called Nafket motaa. This claim by the wife is for year’s worth of expenses to cover her ‘moral damage’. The claim equates to approximately 25% of the husband’s yearly income.

Secondly, is for the wife to claim compensation for the husband not supporting her during the last year of her marriage. Again this could equate to a further 25% of the husband’s yearly income.

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.

Division of assets

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 was evidence to the contrary, the court would 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.

Nevertheless, in some jurisdictions there are possibilities to ask compensation for children maintenance from husband, the UAE laws are exception. It can be seen that UAE laws are clear about compensation amounts and compensating parties upon the dissolution of the marriage. The farther is financially responsible for his children.

Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultancy is licensed to perform legal services and advocacy in all courts of the UAE, reaching out to local and expatriate clients. Our strong practice areas are family law, labor, corporate & commercial, private equity, banking, maritime & transport, litigation & arbitration and real estate. Visit our website or email us at

One Response to “Know Your Rights: Marriage Dissolution | Compensation”

  1. Tess Lorrigan says:

    This is very interesting. In my case regarding child custody, I was told by my estranged husband’s lawyer: “she is not the mother. She did not give birth to her”. His lawyer claimed that because my daughter is adopted, I had no right to claim custody! This is despite the fact that we are all British and none of us Muslims and her adoption was recognised in both the UK and Nepal where she was born. I am still fighting this despite being deported from the UAE for ‘working without my husband’s permission’. he reported me to the ministry 15 months after I told him I had a job and 18 months after I had filed for a divorce he refused to co-operate with! I have not seen justice through the Dubai courts at all regarding my daughter, of whom I was the main carer, and a child I had BEGGED my husband for as he did not even want her. He took my daughter from school in June 2011 and refused to return her. I did not see her for 9 weeks, and then just a few times before I was deported. Now I am back to the UK (since November last year) and despite being pardoned for my ‘crime’ I am still on the immigration blacklist – not that this makes any difference as he said he will never let me see her again. I do have a lawyer in Dubai, but he does not tell me what is going on. But apart from my own problems with this, I think the article above should mention that adopted children do NOT go to the mother! It is SO painful and heart-breaking.

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