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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 July 2018

UAE family matters Q&As: can my wife divorce me in her home country?

A reader asks if his wife can file for divorce because she is depressed and another asks if his European wife can file for divorce in her home country

My wife and I got married in Dubai and have been living in the UAE for eight years. We have two children, a boy, 4, and a girl, 2. Recently, my wife visited our family doctor who told her she is suffering from depression. It seems she first became depressed after our daughter was born and when I ask her if I have contributed to her condition she always says no. She now wants to file for divorce. Will her divorce be granted?

Divorce can normally be claimed if a husband causes harm to his wife. If he did not hurt his wife or commit a specific mistake, the divorce application may not be accepted as there is no solid reason to file for a divorce. However, the wife can still apply for Khula, which is not a divorce but is another type of termination of a marriage. If she chooses to apply for Khula, she is obliged to return any and all gifts to her husband and she would have much less financial rights as compared to the ones that she would get if she files for a divorce.

I am a Muslim man who married a European Muslim woman two years ago. A few days ago, we got into an argument when she said she wants to go back to her home country and never come back. Since our fight, I have tried to make things work between us but I feel like she is still not completely happy. She is due to travel to Europe next week for a holiday to see her family but I am afraid that once she reaches her home country, she will file a case against me and not return to Dubai. What I can do should that happen?

If your wife files for divorce in the courts of Europe, you may still file a case here in Dubai courts as far as both you still have valid UAE residency visas. If the foreign courts decided over the case while you have a UAE residence visa, then such judgment would not be recognised by the UAE courts. Article No. 235 of Civil procedure Law indicates that any foreign court order shall not be recognised by UAE courts if the local court has the jurisdiction to decide in the same case and if respondent has a UAE residence visa, then the local courts have jurisdiction to decide in this case.

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

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.