Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

Family matters Q&As: can my daughter divorce her abusive husband?

A reader asks if their daughter could win custody of the children she shares with her abusive husband and another asks if her husband can apply for custody of a child he had with a woman out of wedlock

I am writing on behalf of my daughter who has been married for four years. Recently, my son-in-law has become aggressive, abusive and violent. We learnt a year ago that he had violently hit her and he continues to threaten her with physical harm by throwing household items at her. Our efforts to bring his parents into resolving the matter went in vain. He continues to ill-treat my daughter in front my grandchildren even. She has been living with me for the past three months and is afraid to move back in with him. My daughter wants a divorce but will she get custody of her children?

The husband's acts are considered as crimes in the UAE and constitute as valid grounds for divorce. If there is a mark on your daughter’s body, which suggests that her husband has beaten her, she may file a criminal complaint against him and visit a hospital to get a medical report to be used as evidence in the divorce case.

Another way ti strengthen her case is to have a witness who is willing to testify — such as a friend or colleague who are informed about her situation. Article 156 of the UAE Personal Status Law provides that women are natural custodians for children where the boy is under eleven years old and the girl is under thirteen years old. Given the aspect of domestic violence and the child’s best interest, the court may reject husband’s custody claim.

My husband has fathered a child out of wedlock with another woman. He would like to take the baby from the woman after its birth as the woman is unfit to be a mother. Is this possible?

A sexual relationship between an unmarried couple is a crime in the UAE. The fact that a child was born out of wedlock is evidence of a prohibited physical relationship between your husband and another woman and therefore, the child will be considered illegitimate. Your husband and the other woman may be subject to imprisonment for up to one year and followed by mandatory deportation.

My friend lives in the UAE but national records in her home country show that she was married twice but there is no document to prove that she was divorced. Could she be deported or face a life time ban in the UAE?

We understand that there is no judgment of a crime against her in her home country. Accordingly, the home country has also not submitted any extradition request to the UAE to extradite her. The UAE Criminal Courts does not decide on criminal acts as far as those acts were not commissioned in the UAE — as per Article 1 of the UAE Penal Code.

If you have a question for our legal consultant, email media@professionallawyer.me with the subject line “Family Matters”.

Updated: April 13, 2019 08:37 PM