Home country’s divorce laws only apply from onset, UAE court rules

Expatriates seeking a divorce and want the case to be heard under their home country’s laws must request it from the start of proceedings at the Court of First Instance.

ABU DHABI // Expatriates seeking a divorce and want the case to be heard under their home country’s laws must request it from the start of proceedings at the Court of First Instance.

The decision was made by the Court of Cassation on Sunday as a result of a divorce hearing for a Lebanese husband and wife.

The man had given the woman a gold coin worth about Dh1,000 as a pre-wedding dowry and promised 999 more gold coins as a payout in case of divorce.

Eventually, he wanted to divorce her, so he started to demand she instigate divorce proceedings so he could avoid paying her the settlement.

The wife, however, filed for divorce due to damages.

The Courts of First Instance and the Court of Appeal both ruled he had to pay her the full amount. He defended himself based on UAE laws, arguing that he did not cause her any damages.

When his case failed, he asked for Lebanese divorce laws to be implemented, saying that in Lebanon, divorce laws depend on which sect the person belonged to. As he was a follower of the Ja’fari sect, divorce due to damages does not exist.

However, the court rejected his arguments stating he should have requested the application of Lebanese laws at the Court of First Instance.

hdajani@thenational.ae

Published: June 29, 2014 04:00 AM

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