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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

UAE family matters Q&A: can I divorce my cheating husband while pregnant?

A reader asks what her rights are upon divorcing her cheating husband since she is pregnant with their first child

My husband and I are married and live in the UAE. We got married in his home country a few years ago and I am currently pregnant with our first child. I discovered that my husband has been cheating on me since I became pregnant. Though I am sure, and he has a history of cheating, I have no proof. I want to divorce him but I understand that without proof I cannot even bring this topic up in front of a judge. How can I be granted a divorce without negative consequences? If I deliver our child after getting divorced will the child be considered born out of wedlock? What are the options for me to be divorced as soon as possible? Will I be entitled to any alimony and financial support from him?

The child does not to be delivered while you are married for it to be considered legitimate, since the child was conceived while you were married. If your husband divorces you while you are pregnant, or if the court grants you the divorce during your pregnancy, you will be granted a ‘revocable divorce’, which become irrevocable upon delivery or three months after the divorce is finalised (whichever comes later). Technically, you will not be considered completely divorced until the child is delivered. In any case, for the child to be considered born within a legal marriage, all that is required by law is a minimum period of 180 days between the marriage and the delivery. The date of the divorce does not matter at all and does not have any relationship with legitimate rights of your child.

As for the cheating allegations, it is very common in cases like yours that court will ask for witnesses. If you do not have witnesses, you may have the legal option to ask the court to appoint two arbitrators to attempt to eliminate the conflicts between the two of you and try reconcile you. Should the arbitrators fail, they may recommend the court to give you the divorce. If the arbitrators recommend divorce, the court is obliged to follow their recommendation.

Even if the extramarital affairs took place outside of the UAE and even though that cannot be used in Criminal courts for the lack of jurisdiction, you may still use it as a valid reason for your divorce. Even though in Family courts the witnesses are the most important part of the proceedings, you are allowed to use other types of evidence in your possession (such as photos or any correspondence).

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