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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

My ex-husband owes me eight years of maintenance payments. Can I have him detained at Dubai Airport?

The Dubai resident knows her former spouse is travelling to Dubai later this year and wants to have him arrested when he arrives

One in three divorce cases in 2016 were between couples who had been married under a year, Abu Dhabi statistics revealed. Getty Images
One in three divorce cases in 2016 were between couples who had been married under a year, Abu Dhabi statistics revealed. Getty Images

I am a Muslim and so is my ex-husband. We got divorced though the court system in Dubai in 2009 and he holds a European passport. The court instructed that he should pay approximately Dh65,000 to me each year but he has not paid in the eight years that have passed. He will be travelling to Dubai this year and I would like to know if it would it be possible to speak to the authorities to arrest him until he pays me, or if he could be arrested at Dubai airport when he arrives? AH, Dubai

It is disappointing to hear that someone is not abiding by a court-sanctioned agreement and I contacted Madeleine Mendy, head of family law at Bin Sevan Advocates for her expert comment. She advised: “When an order for payment is made by the Dubai Court and the individual who the order is made against fails to pay, enforcement proceedings can be started at the Dubai Courts. In this particular case, if AH starts an execution case at the Dubai Court and an order is entered against her ex-husband, and the appropriate steps are taken with the relevant court-appointed authorities to enforce the order, her husband will be detained upon arrival at Dubai Airport, even if he is only transiting through the airport.” I queried whether a lawyer needs to be engaged to do this and Ms Mendy further advised: “it is more cost effective to do it alone and the court system is pretty straight forward in particular as she has previous experience.”

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I need clarity on my leave salary and gratuity. My company terminated my contract on August 31 and agreed to pay me three months’ notice pay. Can you tell me if the gratuity will be paid until August 31 or until November 30? What date will my salary be paid to? Can I use company accommodation for the next three months as it is mentioned in my contract that accommodation is provided by my company? In case the company cancels my visa, am I eligible for accommodation expenses for the balance of the notice period? DD, Dubai

If someone is given three months’ notice of termination then they should be considered employed for the full notice period with all the attendant benefits, so for DD this is until November 30. This means that the visa should not be cancelled until the end of the notice period and all other benefits and allowances such as medical insurance, travel allowances and accommodation must be provided during the entire three-month period. The last salary payment should also include any annual leave accrued and not taken, including that accrued during the notice period, as well as the end of service gratuity calculated to the end of November. Article 131 of UAE Labour Law covers the requirements in respect of accommodation provided by the employer and clause 2 states: "In the event where the employer provides the worker with accommodation, the worker shall vacate the accommodation within thirty days from the date of termination of the employment thereof." My interpretation is that if employment ends on November 30, then the accommodation should be available for a further 30 days from that date, although many people will vacate sooner.

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I have been working as a sales executive on an unlimited contract, however for the last two months my employer has not paid my salary. I have found a new job in the GCC and asked them to cancel my visa but they are asking me to pay the cancellation amount. I still haven’t had my salary. They are holding my passport and refusing to give it back. FH, Abu Dhabi

This employer is acting unfairly and unlawfully on several counts. If any employee wishes to leave a company they should never be asked to pay for any fees incurred by the employer. This is clearly set out in Ministerial Order 52 of 1989, Article 6 which states that the employer is responsible for all recruitment and employment expenses. No employer is permitted to retain an employee’s passport and any that do are breaking the law. If someone gives notice of resignation, the employer is obliged to cancel the visa at the end of the notice period and must return the passport. Salary payments are also due and these should also be paid along with any end of service gratuity that has accrued. I recommend that FH contacts the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation on their helpline number, 800 665, to register a case as soon as possible. He can also go to a local labour office. As the employer is wholly in the wrong he should find the ministry supportive.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.