Question: I am a Muslim woman and I will soon be getting married. I want to know if I can add a special condition in my marriage contract in the event my husband decides to take a second wife without my consent. Can I request to add certain special conditions as part of my marriage contract to get a divorce should I face such a situation in the future?

Answer: Yes you can. Both parties to the marriage contract may request to add special conditions in their marriage contract, provided these conditions are compliant with Sharia principles. As per Sharia, a Muslim man may have up to four wives, making it is impossible to insert a clause that bans him from taking a second wife. However, you can add a condition that gives the woman the right to divorce from her husband, should he chose to take a second wife without her permission. This condition must be agreed upon by the husband and wife before the marriage contract is signed.

Question: We are a Muslim family and our daughter is about to get married. She wants to know if she can legally protect herself by adding any special conditions to her marriage contract that will increase her Mahr amount if her husband marries another woman without her consent.

Answer: Yes it is possible. Per Article 49 of the UAE Personal Status Law, mahr or dowry must be offered by the husband to the wife before they sign the marriage contract. This can include money or property. The dowry can be immediate, deferred, or partly immediate and partly deferred as agreed by both parties. The deferred part of the dowry is payable to the wife upon divorce. Accordingly, the amount of Dowry and its payment are decided at the time of marriage. A clause that increases the dowry in the event of her husband marrying a second wife without her permission can be added with the consent of the husband. A woman may also request to add a special condition in her marriage contract, which gives her the right to divorce when her husband marries another woman without her consent.

Since the deferred dowry is due upon divorce, the husband is under an obligation to pay the dowry amount to the wife. In this way, the wife shall have the right to seek divorce when the husband marries another woman and she may also demand the payment of her deferred dowry. There is no minimum limit to the mahr but the maximum is subject to the law on dowries. But when the marriage contract is executed outside the UAE, such limitations may not apply.