When deciding the appropriate jurisdiction to divorce in, an influencing factor may be the potential outcomes following a divorce in either UAE or UK. The following is a very brief and simplified overview with regards to potential outcomes in terms of spousal maintenance / compensation in UAE and UK.

Divorce in UAE

Relevant law : Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 (Regarding Personal Status)

Under Sharia law, the wife does not have to pay anything towards the maintenance of the husband or children, even if the husband does not have a job. Upon divorce, the wife can claim moral compensation*, living expenses, if the husband has not supported her in the last year of the marriage and financial support for the three months after the divorce, which is referred to as the waiting period. It is to be noted that maintenance in UAE can include but is not limited to accommodation, utility charges, food, medical care, clothing and transport.

* The amounts claimed can not exceed a percentage of the husband's income.

If you are Muslim and you have Islamic marriage contract where a dowry (Maher) is specified, upon divorce, the husband will be obliged to pay the amount stated.

The husband, as the father of any children of the marriage is obliged to financially look after them however the mother may claim a custodian allowance for looking after the children following the divorce.

Divorce in UK

Relevant Law(s) : Family Law Act 1996, Matrimonial Causes Act 1973

Under English law, either spouse may claim spousal maintenance and it is paid when one spouse can not support themselves financially without it.

When assessing the quantum and duration of spousal maintenance, the English Courts would look at factors (Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1975) including :

  • the age of each party to the marriage;
  • the duration of the marriage;
  • the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the future;
  • the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the future;
  • the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
  • any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
  • the contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely to make in the foreseeable future to the family and
  • the conduct of each of the parties.

If ordered, spousal maintenance is usually paid for a term, the remarriage of the receiving spouse, the death of either spouse or a variation / dismissal by the Court.

It is important to discuss your case with a qualified family lawyer who can advise on your options.

Originally published 07 Apr 2019

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.