UAE family matters Q&As: my wife wants a divorce from overseas, can it be processed?

One reader asks about divorce and his responsibilities to his child, while another asks advice on behalf of a friend who got married while pregnant

We are a husband and a wife from different African countries, married in the UAE. We now have one child together, who will soon be two, and is in Africa with my wife, who wants a divorce.

1. Can divorce papers be process from outside UAE?

2. Is a wife able to be the custodian of a child?

3. If so, will the husband still have responsibilities to the child and what are the compulsory expenses that are to be covered by him?

1. Yes, but to use them here they must be fully attested from both the country of origin and the UAE embassy in the country of origin.

2. In accordance with local laws, the mother would be more likely to be the custodian of the child until age 11 for boys and 13 for girls; however, if the custodian refuses to stay with you in the UAE, you have the right to file a case to claim custody of the children and to oblige her to relocate to where you are.

3. The husband is fully liable to cover the expenses of raising the child, including food, clothes, medication, housing and schooling. The full amount is dependent on the father’s income. If the child has special needs, the husband has to cover any additional medical expenses. Article 78/1 of personal status law 28 states: “Maintenance of children with no financial resources shall be borne by the father. Girls shall be looked after until they marry, while boys are to be maintained until they reach an employable age, unless he is a student pursuing study.”

A friend got married when was two months pregnant. She didn't know at the time and now she is wondering if she can go to a doctor for a pregnancy check-up and give birth in the UAE?

According to article 91 of law 28, the shortest time possible for a gestation period is one hundred and eighty days and the longest is three hundred and sixty five days, unless a committee of medical physicians decides otherwise. If courts found that the period between delivery and marriage was less than that, the court will not allow the child to be registered under the father’s name. In accordance with article 92/2, he wouldn’t have the right to custody of this child by any court order.

If you have a question for our legal consultant, email with the subject line "Family Matters".

Published: December 23, 2017 06:07 PM


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