I am a non-Muslim woman who has been married to a non-Muslim man for 7 years. Currently, I want to divorce because my husband does not support me and my two children, noting that my husband has a company and owns properties. My question is, do I have the right, according to the new law, to request a divorce?
Am I legally entitled to ask my husband to give me half of what he owns of real estate and half of his money? Am I legally entitled to claim custody? Please advise.
To answer such question, I would advise the following:
According to Article 7 of Federal Decree Law No. 41 of 2022 on Civil Personal Status for Non-Muslims, the spouses can request for divorce and be granted if either spouse expresses in court his/her desire to separate and terminate the marriage, without any need to justify their reason, to demonstrate harm, or to put the blame on the other party.
The law did not specify the right for the divorced woman to request for half of what her ex-husband owns of real estate and half of his money but states in its Article 9 that the divorced woman can apply for alimony from her ex-husband and add any financial requests she wants and in the event that there is no agreement on the conditions and controls of alimony or other financial requests in the marriage contract, the acceptance of the request and its duration is subject to the discretionary power of the judge after evaluating multiple factors such as the number of years of marriage, the wife’s age, the financial status of each of the spouses, the extent of the husband’s contribution to the divorce, either spouse compensating the other for any material or moral damage caused to him/her as a result of the divorce, the final damage incurred by either spouse as a result of the application for divorce by unilateral will and whether or not the wife is diligent in taking care of the children.
However, the spouse has the right to apply the laws of their home country or select alternative personal status laws in effect in the UAE over the provisions of this Decree Law.
Under Article 10 of the new law, parental responsibility for children shall be shared by both the father and mother after divorce, unless the parties submit a request to the court to establish custody for the party who is able to meet the interests of the child in custody, or either of them waives custody right in writing before the Court, or applies to the Court for removing the other spouse from joint custody and terminating his/her right of custody for any reason acceptable to the Court.