The UAE is always keen to improve family conditions; this is confirmed by the UAE Personal Status Law, which is derived from Islamic Sharia law; the UAE legislator was eager on this law to clarify wife rights, such as maintenance, as one of the most important results of the marriage contract, as wife’s maintenance has a significant impact on family stability; therefore we will answer in this article all questions about the wife’s alimony in the UAE Personal Status Law.
WHAT IS SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE & SUPPORT IN THE UAE PERSONAL STATUS LAW?
The UAE, Personal Status Law, requires the husband to provide housing for his wife and to be suitable, well prepared, in the same place as the husband’s residence, and commensurate with spouse conditions.
Maintenance includes food, clothing, shelter, medical care, domestic servant charges for the wife, if she is used to hiring a maid within her family, and all other related maintenance may require. In estimating the maintenance amount, the judge considers the husband’s financial situation, wife’s circumstances, economic situation, and place; in all cases, alimony shall not be less than the sufficiency level.
WHEN IS THE WIFE LEGALLY ENTITLED TO MAINTENANCE?
According to Article (67) of the UAE Personal Status Law, the wife’s maintenance shall be considered a debt from the date husband abstained from paying it; without a court decision or mutual consent, this debt is due, payable, and shall not be settled unless fully paid or waived by the wife.
Spousal maintenance has a statute of limitations of three years; the wife can’t request maintenance for more than these three years unless the husband agrees. Also, urgently the wife can request temporary maintenance to be executed on an urgent basis.
DOES THE FORMER WIFE ENTITLE TO MAINTENANCE?
Article 69 of personal status law sets out different cases of maintenance and financial support following divorce, specifically in the “Iddat period” in Islamic literature Iddat period is the period a woman must observe after the death of her husband or after a divorce, during which she may not marry another man, one of its main purposes is to remove any doubt as to the paternity of a child born after the divorce or death of the prior husband. According to the article mentioned above divorced wife is entitled to maintenance and accommodation when she is in her Iddat period or after but pregnant, and she is entitled to accommodation only if divorce is irrevocable and she is not pregnant.
Judicial rulings in the UAE have confirmed that the wife’s departure from the marital home to her family’s house due to husband physical aggression, does not make her disobedient; this ensures that she left the marital home with a legal justification and deserves alimony. In addition, the wife’s residence outside the marital home is a presumption that the husband does not spend on her, and the burden of proof falls on the husband (Appeal No. 1 of 2014 Personal Status).
HOW DO THE COURT INCREASE OR DECREASE WIFE MAINTENANCE?
Article Sixty-four of UAE Personal Status Law permits wife to request to increase and decrease alimony according to changing circumstances, where the capacity of the spender, the condition of the spender, and the economic situation in time and place, if it is not less than the sufficiency limit.
The concerned court has the authority to estimate alimony, housing, and its accessories and to estimate the extent of the husband’s left and the need of the spender (Appeal No. 543 of 2012 Personal Status), noting that a claim for increase or decrease is not heard before one year has passed since the imposition of alimony except in exceptional cases. Therefore, the increase or decrease in maintenance is calculated from the date of the judicial claim.
WHAT ARE THE CASES OF DROPPING MAINTENANCE?
There are several cases mentioned by Article 71 of the UAE Personal Status Law in which the wife’s alimony dropped, and this is happened if the wife prevents herself from the husband without a legitimate excuse or if she abandons the marital home without a legitimate reason, or if she prevents the husband from entering the marital home without a legitimate excuse or if a court decision is issued restricting her freedom, or if she breaches her marital obligations stipulated by the law, Of course, in all cases the judge considered the family’s interest in all of this.
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