Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 January 2020

UAE court rejects claim that polygamy damages marriage

A woman filed for divorce after her husband married a second wife

The Federal Supreme Court in 2010. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National
The Federal Supreme Court in 2010. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National

A UAE woman who successfully filed for divorce after her husband married a second wife has had the decision revoked by the Federal Supreme Court.

Documents revealed the mother claimed her marriage had been irretrievably “damaged” after her husband decided to marry another bride.

According to lawyers, the woman was initially granted a divorce as well as custody of the couple’s children and expenses for a maid.

But when the husband appealed the decision, judges in Abu Dhabi found in his favour and ruled that polygamy did not constitute grounds for a split.

“She [the wife] had testified that he [the husband] was treating her well and with kindness,” the court found.

“Therefore, the earlier verdict mistakenly analysed the circumstances and built the judgement on insufficient reasons.

“[They] contradicted with Sharia, which required the divorce to be revoked.”

Under UAE law, if one party in a marriage files for divorce the couple first have to undergo efforts to reconcile their differences.

A court appoints two male relatives of the pair to discuss whether the husband and wife can reach an understanding and remain married.

In this instance, the woman, who has not been named, rebuffed efforts to continue the relationship and it was agreed the divorce should go ahead.

The case was initially heard by the Court of First Instance who granted the separation as well as child custody and a cash supplement for the wife.

Later however, the husband challenged the verdict, arguing that no damage to the marriage could have taken place as a result of his second wife.

He said he had a legal right to marry again and the Federal Supreme Court agreed.

“The couple continue to live in harmony and there was no proof of damage except from claims made by the wife,” court documents said.

Updated: January 14, 2020 03:46 PM

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