According to UAE law, a provisional lawsuit can be filed to claim alimony in case of a divorce. Image Credit: Creative Commons

Divorce and payment of alimony

Question: I am a Muslim woman, married to a Muslim man with whom I have a three-year-old son. Three months ago, my husband divorced me for no reason and left the house. A month ago, I called him to inquire about the divorce certificate that he had promised to give me, but he refused to do so, saying that he did not divorce me. I do not have witnesses. For the last four months, he has not been spending anything for me or our son. In a month’s time, the house rent will be due, but I have no money to pay the rent or spend on my son. How can I secure my rights? Please advise.

Answer: Article (16) of the UAE personal status law says that ‘The lawsuit concerning personal status matters shall not be admitted before the court unless it has previously been submitted to the Family Orientation Committee. Exempted from this provision are matters concerning wills, inheritance, summary and provisional lawsuits concerning alimony, fostering, guardianship as well as cases that cannot be settled by conciliation such as evidence of marriage or divorce’.

In order to oblige your former husband to pay the alimony, you may file a summary and provisional lawsuit, requesting a monthly alimony since the date he stopped paying you money. A request for this summary and provisional lawsuit may also be made in front of the personal court, accompanied by the divorce lawsuit, custody and all related alimonies.

It is necessary to file the lawsuit in front of the court, starting with the Family Orientation Committee for divorce and custody, with all their related alimonies. Alimony for wife as a result of divorce includes dowry, idda (waiting period), housing and also compensation — other than the alimony paid during the waiting period (motaa). For child custody, monthly alimony must include expenses for the child, clothing, medical, school, housing, water and electricity, internet, transportation costs for the child etc, knowing that according to Article (63) of the same law, in assessing the amount of alimony, it shall be taken into consideration the possibilities of the debtor thereof, the circumstances of the beneficiary and the economic situation, in place and time, provided it does not fall below the sufficiency level.

In front of the court, in case the husband does not confess the act of divorce, the burden to prove it shall fall on you, using the testimony of witnesses or any document such as messages, emails etc. Article (100), which has been replaced by virtue of Article (1) of Federal Decree-Law No 5 dated August 25, 2020, states: Divorce shall be initiated either by the husband or any one acting on his behalf by virtue of a special power of attorney, or by the wife or any one acting on her behalf by virtue of a special power of attorney, according to what was agreed upon in the marriage contract, and it must be documented according to the procedures followed in court. The divorce shall be established before the judge by evidence given by two witnesses, or by an avowal, and the judge shall issue his ruling after verifying the fulfilment of either of the two said conditions. Divorce shall be deemed to be dated on the date of avowal, unless a previous date is established by the court, and the consequences of divorce by avowal shall be governed by Sharia.

Overtime and working on Fridays

Question: I work in a private company affiliated with the UAE Ministry of Labour. How is the overtime work calculated for worker? Is the worker obligated to work overtime or is it optional? Does the employer have the right to force the worker to work on official holidays or on Fridays on a continuous basis? Please advise.

Answer: Articles (67) and (68) state how overtime is calculated. Article 67 states: ‘Should the work circumstances require the carrying out by the worker of a work for more than the ordinary working hours, the additional period shall be deemed an overtime, for which, the worker shall be paid a wage equivalent to the ordinary hourly wage, with an addition of at least 25 per cent of the said wage.’

Article (68) sates: ‘Should the work circumstances require the carrying out by the worker of extra work between 9pm and 4am, the worker shall be entitled to a wage equivalent to the ordinary hourly wage with an addition of at least 50 per cent of the said wage.

Article (72) states: Persons occupying high-ranked managerial or supervisory positions, should such positions confer upon the occupants thereof powers of the employer over the workers, are not entitled to work for extra hours.

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The worker should do overtime in case the work circumstances require the carrying out by the worker of a work for more than the ordinary working hours. The employer has the full authority to organise the work and to regulate the working hours at his or her facility according to the conditions permitted by the nature of the work, so that the effective overtime working hours as per Article (69) may not exceed two hours per day, unless such work is necessary for the prevention of the occurrence of a colossal loss, a serious accident or the removal or mitigation of the consequences thereof.

As for working on Fridays, Article (70) states: ‘Friday shall be the ordinary weekly rest day for all workers, with the exception of the daily worker. Should the circumstances require that the worker works on this day, then the worker shall be entitled to a substitute rest day or to the basic wage for the ordinary working hours, in addition to 50 per cent of the said wage. Article (71) states: ‘The worker may not be requested to work for more than two consecutive Fridays with the exception of the day workers.’