Women’s rights after divorce in Emirati Law
Various questions are posed regarding the matter of women’s rights after divorce in Emirati Law, as a result this article will be dedicated to answering these following recurrent queries.
Firstly, we should commence by defining the notion of divorce, article (99) of Personal Status law resulting from Federal law no. (28) Year 2005 “Repudiation is the dissolution of the valid contract of marriage in the form legally prescribed.”. The dissolution of the contract of marriage as the result of divorce entitles the divorced woman to a certain number of rights as per Emirati Law.
However, it would be crucial prior to presenting these following rights to briefly illustrate the different types of divorce that figure in Emirati Law.
Divorce could be either retractable or non-retractable:
As article (104) of Personal Status law stipulates “retractable repudiation does not put an end to marriage unless after the expiry of the waiting period (Idda).”
As article (104) of Personal Status law stipulates “The non-retractable repudiation ends the marriage upon its occurrence. It may take one of the following two forms:
- Repudiation with right to remarry: The divorcee may not return to the man who divorced her except after a new contract of marriage and a new dowry;
- Final and decisive repudiation: The divorcee may not return to the man who divorced her except after expiry of the waiting period (Idda) from another husband who had carnal knowledge of her pursuant to a valid marriage.”
The nature of the divorce is consequential in terms of the rights that the divorcee will be entitled to.
The rights that divorcees are entitled to in Emirati law are the following: Alimony “Nafaqqat Al’Idda”, Sheltering “Nafaqqat Al Sukna”, Compensation due to unilateral divorce “Nafaqqat Al Mut’ah”, and Mu’akhar.
Alimony and Sheltering:
Firstly, the Waiting period or Al Iddah as article (136) of Personal Status law is ““Idda” is an obligatory waiting period during which the wife remains without marriage, as a result of separation” and during that period the divorce is not considered as definitive, yet the Islamic law and the Emirati law granted the woman at this duration a certain number of rights in order to guarantee her safety, the following rights are the Alimony and Sheltering.
Alimony is allocated in order to cover food, clothing, and medicine whereas Sheltering is allocated in order to guarantee a decent shelter for the divorcee during the Waiting period.
As per article (69) of Personal status law “Alimony and sheltering, during the waiting period (“idda”), are due to the divorcee in a reversible divorce, in a non-retractable divorce if the divorced woman is pregnant and, if she is not, only sheltering is due.” In addition, article (70) indicates “No alimony is due to the widow during her waiting period because of the death of her husband but she is entitled to live in the conjugal domicile during the said period.”
Therefore, according to article (69) the divorcee can claim Alimony and Sheltering in these following cases:
- The divorcee in a reversible divorce is entitled to Alimony and Sheltering during the waiting period
- The divorcee in a non-retractable divorce is entitled to Alimony and Sheltering if she is pregnant
- The divorcee in a non-retractable divorce is solely entitled to Sheltering
Cases where Alimony is not due:
- Article (69) of personal status law indicates that the divorcee from a non-retractable divorce who is not pregnant is solely entitled during the waiting period to sheltering
- Article (70) of the same law states that the widow is not entitled to Alimony but is entitled to living in the conjugal domicile during the waiting period
- The divorcee is not entitled to Alimony if she decides to abandon it during Khul’ divorce cases (the following is when the woman requests divorce before the judge by simply submitting a petition to the court without having to give grounds to substantiate her demand, yet the husband is still needs to give his consent to divorce)
- The entitlement to Alimony is not inheritable, if the wife is deceased entitlement is no longer due
- Death of the husband
Alimony assessment method
Alimony is assessed according to article (63/2) of the same law considering the financial abilities of the husband, the economic context, and the allocated alimony must be adequate to satisfy the divorcee’s needs.
The divorcee can successfully claim an another compensation if she’s eligible and the following is due if the divorce was unilaterally decided by the husband.
Compensation due if the wife was divorced unilaterally by the husband:
According to article (140) of Personal Status law “In case the husband divorces his wife from a valid consummated marriage by his unilateral will without a request from her, she is entitled to a compensation other than the alimony paid during the waiting period depending on the financial status of the husband provided it does not exceed a one-year alimony payable to those in similar condition.” In this case the compensation is allocated to comfort the unilaterally divorced wife.
Compensation assessment method:
When assessing this compensation, the judge takes into consideration the level of harm that the woman had to endure as a result of the divorce. The judge will as well take into consideration the financial situation of the husband and decide whether the payment will be attributed to the divorcee in installments or paid wholly at once.
In case it was decided that the wife will have Mu’akhar then the divorcee will as well be entitled to claim it.
If a woman spent money on the household or on herself, can she claim the money that she paid?
In Emirati law the woman is not legally obliged to secure her own finances, as article (63) of Personal Status law “Alimony includes food, clothing, dwelling, medical care”, therefore Alimony is a right that the wife is entitled to even if she has her own income, article (62) of Personal Status law indicates that “A woman having reached the age of full capacity is free to dispose of her property and the husband may not, without her consent, dispose thereof;”
Firstly, in the case where the wife dealt with her own finances and the husband did not execute his legal obligation that consists of dealing with the finances of his wife, the latter can file for Separation for Abstention from Support, as article (124) states “If the present husband abstains from supporting his wife and he does not have apparent funds from which he can pay, within a short time, the due alimony, the wife may ask separation.”
Therefore, If the wife divorced wife dealt with her own finances during marriage this encompasses dealing with her food, clothing, dwelling, and medical care as indicated in articles (62) and (63) from Personal Status law she is entitled as per the law to claim the spent money and successfully obtain it if it hasn’t been proven that the husband was facing financial difficulties or other circumstances that prevented him from executing his obligation.
In the case where the husband obligated his divorcee to deal with the finances of their kids, can she claim the money after divorce?
The Emirati law obligates the father to deal with the finances of his children indicated in article (78) of personal status law “Alimony of the small child who has no financial resources is on his father until the marriage of the girl or until the boy reaches the age at which his fellow-mates earn their living, unless he is a student continuing his studies with normal success.”
Therefore, the law does not oblige the woman to contribute to her children finances as it’s the obligation of the father, and if the husband wishes that the wife could contribute the wife cannot be forced to agree such requests, the wife has to provide her consent to participate financially, as the law indicates in article (62) of Personal status law “A woman having reached the age of full capacity is free to dispose of her property and the husband may not, without her consent, dispose thereof;” The father cannot cease to execute his legal obligation unless he is facing a serious financial difficulty and the wife can assume the obligation temporarily with her own willingness.
Therefore, the divorcee can in fact claim her financial contribution if it was given without her prior consent and if her husband was not facing serious financial difficulties.
The content of this article should not be taken as legal consultation. In case you are involved in any problems related to the following subject or have any queries, Hassan Al Reyami Advocates and legal consultants would be delighted to address your concerns during a 30-minute free legal consultation session offered to you.