UAE family matter Q&A: Is a WhatsApp message legal proof my husband is cheating?

A reader asks if they are able to use messages found accidentally on a phone as evidence in court

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I am an Asian Muslim woman who married to Arabic Muslim man in Dubai and we have been together for almost seven years. When my son was playing with my husband's phone, I found a call record and messages to another woman on WhatsApp. I confronted him, but he denied everything. Are the calls and message considered evidence of cheating in court?

Under the UAE Laws of Evidence, the Family Court in Dubai considers, and in most instances accepts, all written correspondences as evidence of proving one’s claim or disproving the claim of the other party.

Acceptable written correspondences include emails, text messages, WhatsApp and other commonly used tools of written communication; however, these need to be printed and translated by legal translators prior to being submitted to the court.

If the evidence you gathered from his phone was found unintentionally and by accident, it would mean that you did not have the intention of committing a crime. According to article No. 34 of the UAE Penal code, “an attempt is the commencement of the execution of an act with the intention to commit a crime.” In the absence of intention, there might be no crime.

If I separated from my husband for a few years, will our marriage be considered invalid and can I then remarry again?

No, your marriage will not be automatically considered as invalid under the UAE law. You must file for divorce in the Family Courts and get a divorce judgment in the local courts. After receiving a judgment of divorce, you have to wait for a legal period of three months, called idda’t, and after that you may remarry.