divorce, marital dispute
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Claiming marital rights

Question: I am a non-Muslim woman married to a non-Muslim man and I have a three-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter. My husband does not spend on me or my children and I have no source of income. Do I legally have the right to file a family lawsuit to claim my marital rights and the rights of my children? Do I have the right to demand the application of Islamic law. Also, do I have the right to seek divorce? Please advise

Answer: First of all, you do have the right to file a suit against your husband to claim your marital rights, children’s alimony and also seek application of UAE laws according to Article 1 of the UAE Personal Status law (The provisions of this law shall apply to citizens of the United Arab Emirates, unless non-Muslims among them have special provisions applicable to their community or confession. They shall equally apply to non-citizens unless one of them asks for the application of his law.)

The court of the plaintiff’s or defendant’s domicile, residence or place of business, or the conjugal domicile, shall have jurisdiction to examine the lawsuits introduced by the children, wife, parents or the fostering nurse, as the case may be, in the instance of divorce, divorce in return of money, discharge, rescission and separation between spouses of all kinds.

Secondly, you have the right to request for Separation for Abstention from Support, according to Article 124 of the law that states: 1) If the present husband abstains from supporting his wife and he does not have apparent funds from which he can pay, then the wife may ask for separation. 2) Should the husband claim to be insolvent, but if there is no evidence to support his claim, then the judge shall order immediate divorce. If the husband keeps silent as to his being solvent or insolvent and still insists not to support his wife and family, then, even if there is evidence of his insolvency, the judge shall grant him a respite of not more than a month, after which, if he still does not comply with his duty to support his wife and children, the judge shall order divorce.

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Partial payment against bounced rental cheque

Question: Four months ago, I had rented my apartment. According to the lease contract, I received four cheques from the tenant. I encashed the first cheque immediately upon signing the contract. However, the second cheque bounced due to insufficient funds. What are the legal steps that I can take in order to recover the cheque amount under the newly-amended law for bounced cheques?

Answer: Following the new amendments to Federal Decree Law No (14) of 2020, amending certain provisions of Federal Law No (18) of 1993, regarding the Commercial Transactions Law in instances of returned cheques on account of insufficient funds, the practise of partial payment of cheques has now become mandatory. This means if the amount available for payment is less than a given cheque’s value, then the drawee bank is now required to pay whatever amount is available in the cheque issuer’s account at that point of time. The banks in such instances will provide a ‘partial payment certificate’ to the presenter of the cheque, with all the basic details of the issuer of the cheque, according to Article (617/2) of the amended law, which states: ‘Where the fund for payment is less than the value of the cheque, the drawee shall partially pay the value of the cheque up to the available fund, unless the bearer of he cheque rejects partial payment. Upon each partial payment, the drawee shall initial at the back of the cheque, confirming the partial payment and return the original cheque to the bearer along with a certificate to that effect. Such certificate shall validate the right of the bearer to demand the payment of the remaining amount against the original cheque, according to Article (635) of this Law. Or, the cheque bearer can submit a protest after the expiry of the time limit as provided for in Article (632) of this Law.’

Based on this bank certificate, you can file a ‘performance order’, which is a petition with the Rental Dispute Center, requesting the Provisional and Summary Actions Judge to issue a payment order to the tenant to pay the rent arrears. It is done by a request instead of a lawsuit and enables you to obtain the value of a bounced rental cheque.