Publications: Family Law

Question: How I can complain about my husband's girlfriend? I live in a GCC country and my husband lives in the UAE with her. I cannot personally visit the UAE to lodge a complaint against them despite my husband having cheated on me for almost five years. How can I punish them?

Answer: First, if you have proof, you have the right to file a criminal case against them (it has to be both) for the offense of adultery, as per Article 356 of UAE Federal Law No 3 of 1987 - the Penal Code. Because you are outside the country, you can file the complaint via the emirate police force's website or, increasingly, via police apps that are available for free download. You should provide any kind of evidence you have, including witnesses, photos, videos (provided it was taken in a way that does not breach their right to privacy), emails/messages exchanged or a letter of admission. In general, the criminal court has full discretionary powers to determine whether or not your husband committed adultery based on the evidence produced. If found guilty, both of them will be deported.

The judge has discretionary powers to reduce jail sentences if they are found guilty but he cannot remove the deportation order.

Question: My husband and I have been living separately for two years and have decided to proceed with an amicable divorce through the UAE courts. We wish to enter into an agreement to determine custody, visitation rights and maintenance. How do we do this?

Answer: To proceed with divorce under UAE law, you and your husband first have to go through a reconciliation committee to seek amicable separation before proceeding to court. Then, if both parties reach an amicable agreement to separate, the agreement is executed by both parties and a judge must sign and stamp it. Only then does an agreement become an official divorce. If you cannot reach an amicable agreement, you may then be referred to the family courts. In all cases, the divorce is final only three months after signing the divorce paper.