UAE family matters Q&A: My wife does not pray often, can I use this to claim custody of our daughter?

Can my wife remarry a month after we get divorced if we have both agreed to it?

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Q: My wife and I have agreed to divorce. She wants to remarry a month after the divorce papers are signed and I’ve agreed to this. Can we have such an agreement mentioned in the divorce papers?

A: People can agree to any mutually accepted terms in a divorce settlement agreement, as per Article 16 of Federal Law no 28 of 2005, which is referred to as the Personal Status Law. But the same law also states that no such agreement is valid if it is contradictory to UAE Public Order. The Personal Status Law states that a period of three months, referred to as the Iddat, or waiting, period, applies and only after this period does the divorce become irrevocable. And as per Article 136 of the law, a woman should not remarry until the Iddat period is over. Article 362 of the Personal Status Law says the provisions contained in the law are part of UAE Public Order and that any agreement which contradicts this law should be cancelled, whatever its source is. So, any agreement that your wife can remarry during the Iddat period is against UAE Public Order and is invalid.

Q: I am an Asian Muslim and my wife is a Muslim but she does not pray much. Can this be used as a ground to claim custody of my young daughter?

A: In general, the fact that the mother is not particularly religious does not affect her eligibility to custody, as long as the mother has the same religion as the child.

Our legal expert is Hassan Mohsen Elhais, of Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants. If you have a question for our lawyer, email with the subject line ‘Family Matters’.