Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 June 2020

UAE family matters Q&As: What happens to my dowry if my husband divorces me?

A reader asks if custody over her son will automatically be transferred to her ex-husband after the boy turns 11 and another asks if she is entitled to her dowry should her husband divorce her

My nine-year-old son and I live together in the UAE. I divorced his father four years ago as he refused to work and provide for our family. Now he keeps harassing me with demands for money. He threatens me that once our son is 11, he will withdraw custody. I want to know if the custody of my son will automatically go to his father after he turns 11.

As per the UAE Personal Status Law, a mother is the natural custodian of her son until he is 11. Custody remains with the mother beyond this age unless it is challenged by the father. The court will look into the best interest of the child before withdrawing custody from the mother. We understand that your ex-husband threatens you and demands monetary help. Accordingly, it may be assumed that he is unable to provide for the well being and safekeeping of the child and so the court may decide it is not in your son's best interest to transfer custody to your husband. Eventually, and in light of your ex-husband’s conduct, the final judgment is subject to the court’s discretionary power.

As per my marriage contract, my husband promised to buy a house for me. Now he is threatening to divorce me, saying he does not love me any more. Should we divorce, what happens to my Mahr because the house he bought me has not been paid off yet.

It is important to note that Mahr or a dowry can be immediate or deferred or partly immediate and partly deferred as agreed by both parties. We understand that your marriage contract provides for a Mahr or dowry in the form of a property. Therefore, if it is immediate, you can claim it anytime after consummation of the marriage. Alternately, if it is deferred, you can claim it on divorce. Accordingly, the mortgaged property is your Mahr and therefore your husband must continue with the mortgage payment until it is fully paid. If he defaults on the payment and should the bank auction the property, you have to right to claim your Mahr payment from your husband.

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

Updated: April 19, 2020 12:52 PM

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