Ask the law: How much alimony can I get in UAE divorce case if I am working?

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Question: I am a Muslim, married to a Muslim man for two years. I have one daughter from him. My problem with my husband is over the issue of alimony. He does not spend on me and my daughter, under the pretext that I am employed and earn a salary. According to my husband, if a woman has a job and earns a salary then she is not entitled to any alimony. My question is: Is this true? Do I have the right to ask for divorce for this reason? Please advise.

Answer: This is not true because alimony is due to a wife by virtue of a valid contract (without consideration of her own wealth), even if she separates herself from her husband eventually. Article (66) of the UAE personal status law states: ‘Alimony to the wife is due as of the date of refrainment from payment when due as a debt on the husband, independently of a court judgement or agreement. It is not forfeited except by payment or discharge.’ Pursuant to Article (67) of the law, it has been stated that ‘A claim for alimony, for a period exceeding three years from the date of introducing such action in court, shall not be heard unless it is imposed by agreement’.

Alimony includes food, clothing, dwelling, medical care, service charges for the wife, if she is performing such services within her family, and all that a conjugal relationship requires. In assessing the amount of alimony, it shall be taken into consideration the possibilities of the debtor thereof, the circumstances of the beneficiary and the economic situation, provided it does not fall below the sufficiency level.

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Article (63) states: It is decided in court that “the husband is obliged to spend on his wife from the date of the valid contract, if she submits herself to him — even if she is well off. Spousal alimony is considered a debt owed by the husband from the date of his abstention from spending while it is obligatory and it is not waived except by payment or release”. (2005/99 Personal Status cassation.)

Alimony of a small child, who has no financial resources, is on his or her father, pursuant to Article (78), until the marriage of the girl or until the boy reaches the age at which his fellow-mates earn their living — unless he or she is a student continuing with studies. Even the suckling expenses of the child are on the father, should the mother be unable to nurture him or her, and this is considered as alimony.

Travel ban for post-dated cheque

Question: I have a cheque, which has a due date of May 2021. The issuer of the cheque has now cancelled his residency and is preparing to leave the UAE. The cheque is of a large amount and I know that his bank account has been closed. My question is how can I act legally to secure my rights?

Answer: You can file a petition for travel ban. This type of ban may be imposed on the debtor based on a written application of the creditor to the competent court. Pursuant to Article (188) of the Civil Procedures Code, if the creditor, even before filing the substantive lawsuit, has serious reasons to believe that the debtor will escape and if the debt is not less than Dh10,000 dirhams — unless it is an established expense or a commitment to work or an abstention from work — then the creditor can request the competent court to issue an order preventing the debtor from travelling.

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The court may issue the travel ban order upon satisfaction of the following conditions:

• The creditor should prove the existence of a reasonable fear that the debtor may run away without clearing the debt.

• The debt amount should be Dh10,000 or more.

• The debt should be definite and due, i.e. unconditionally payable. If the debt amount is not clearly defined, then the judge is entitled to make an interim estimation as long as:

A) The debt is based on written evidence.

B) The creditor submits a bail sufficient to cover the damages attached to the debtor due to the travel ban if the creditor fails to win the case.

The debtor is entitled to object the travel ban imposed on him/her by filing a complaint with the competent higher court. Under Article (189) of the Civil Procedures Code, the travel ban shall stay in effect until the debtor’s commitment to his creditor shall have been expired for any reason whatsoever.

The ban can also be removed by the competent judge in the following instances:

• If any of the conditions required for the travel ban have been done away with.

• If the creditor gives a written approval to remove the ban.

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