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Finance Capital Property
Legal Articles: UAE Family Law
By Mr. Hassan Elhais - Legal Consultant in Dubai
What powers does the court have to allocate financial resources and property on the
breakdown of marriage?
The court will not automatically consider the financial position of a separating couple unless an
application is made to the court. Unless the parties are Muslim and a marriage contract is in
place which they seek to enforce, a financial application can only be made by the receiving
party, not the giving party. This means that a husband who divorces his wife in the UAE
(expatriate or local) cannot enforce a settlement on her in this jurisdiction.
Capital: There are no family laws in the UAE that deal with the allocation of property on the
breakdown of marriage. On divorce, each party retains the assets and property held in their
respective names. The division of jointly owned property is dealt with under general civil laws.
One party may apply to the court for an order for sale of a jointly owned property, or for the
other party to buy out their share. The starting point is the assumption that parties hold jointly
owned property in equal shares. If one party is able to show the court that they made a greater
financial contribution towards the property in terms of purchase price or mortgage payments,
they may retain a larger share of capital. It is important to note that the UAE court only have
jurisdiction over property owned within the UAE, not abroad. Other jointly owned bank
accounts or other assets will be dealt with in the same way.
Explain the operation of maintenance for spouses on an ongoing basis after the break down of
Under UAE laws, it is never possible for a husband to make income claims from a wife, even if
he holds custody of the children. A wife may make financial claims for herself and her children
irrespective of her own wealth and income.
The wife’s claims for herself are compensation type claims, as follows:
1. The first of these is called ‘Nafket motaa’. This claim is for a year’s worth of expenses to cover
the wife’s ‘moral damage’ that she may suffer as a result of her husband divorcing her against
her will. The claim could amount to as much as 40% of a husband’s income for one year, but is
2. The second is for the wife to claim compensation from her husband, for not supporting her
during the last year of her marriage.
3. Thirdly, is the ‘Nafket Eda’. This is the financial claim that a wife could make from her
husband to support her financially during the waiting period.
On what basis is child maintenance calculated within the jurisdiction?
The court will consider the standard of living that the children experienced during the marriage
to determine the appropriate level of child maintenance. Child maintenance will cover all
expenses required by the wife to care for the child e.g. rent of housing, schooling, medical
expenses etc. The wife claiming child maintenance would be required to provide documentary
evidence of the expenses that her husband met for the children during the marriage. The wife
can also claim a monthly figure as a ‘carer’s allowance’, this figure depends on the level of the
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hassan Elhais
After qualifying as a lawyer in his native Egypt and years of successful practice within the field
of criminal and public law, Mr. Elhais moved to Dubai in 2005 and has been practicing as a legal
consultant in Dubai since then. Working exclusively with Al Rowaad Advocates, Hassan is an
effective leader of the company, the spokesperson and driving force. Hassan has a strong
ethical stance with regards to the place of the law firm and its work on behalf of the client,
from clarity on the legal process through to the fee system.
Specializing in the drafting of all statement of claim, memos and consultation with regards to all
kind of litigation, Hassan has worked his way through the ranks of Al Rowaad Advocates from
joining as Legal Advisor to his current role as Managing Partner. Member of Egypt Bar
Association; Member of International Bar Association; and Recommended Lawyer of Embassy
of United States in Abu Dhabi.
Copyright Hassan Elhais
For more information about Hassan Elhais – Legal Consultant in Dubai