UAE: Is it possible to sponsor ex-wife's visa after mutual divorce?

KT reader says he will be providing housing and other support to the family

by

Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 9 Oct 2022, 10:53 AM

Last updated: Wed 7 Dec 2022, 9:02 AM

Question: My wife and I are planning for a mutual divorce, but our relationship remains cordial. Our children are studying in a school in Dubai. Is there any way that my soon-to-be ex-wife can continue to stay under my sponsorship? I am assuming that my children's visa status needn't be amended. I will be providing housing and other support to her and the children so that the kids' lives are not drastically affected. Please advise.

Response: Pursuant to your queries, as you and your wife are residents of Dubai and intend to mutually apply for divorce, the same may be filed at the Personal Status Court of Dubai (the "Court"). Therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 on Personal Status subsequently amended by Federal Decree Law No. 8 of 2019, Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2020 and Federal Decree Law No. 29 of 2020 (the "Personal Status Law of UAE") and those of Resolution No. (3) of 2021 Approving the Family Law Regulatory Procedures Manual of the Dubai Courts (the 'Resolution No. 3 of 2021') are applicable.


In Dubai, all legal issues related to personal matters falls under the jurisdiction of the Court. The husband or the wife needs to file an application with the Court. Subsequently, the Family Guidance Department of the Court (the 'Family Guidance Department') will contact both the husband and wife and arrange for a reconciliation meeting either in person or through electronic means. Thereafter, the department will schedule a date of hearing before the judge at the Court for divorce. Prior to this, the Family Guidance Department will review the divorce settlement agreement and finalise it. This is in accordance with Article 16 of the Personal Status Law of UAE, which states:

"1 - The lawsuit concerning Personal Status matters shall not be admitted before the Court unless it has previously been submitted to the Family Orientation Committee. Are excepted from this provision, matters concerning wills, inheritance and like matters, 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.


2 - Where conciliation between the parties takes place before the Family Orientation Committee, it shall be recorded in a minutes signed by the parties and the competent member of the Committee. The minutes shall be sanctioned by the competent judge, enforced as an executory deed and shall not be subject to any means of appeal except if it is in violation to the provisions of this Law.

3 - The Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Wakfs shall issue the implementing regulation organising the work of the Family Orientation Committee."

The parties seeking divorce should submit a draft settlement agreement to the Court, which may include mutually agreed matters such as financial, child support, custody and visitation rights, in accordance with Article 14 of the Resolution No. 3 of 2021, which states: "1 - The agreement should be written in clear, unambiguous terms that reveal the intention and will of both the parties and do not carry more than one meaning.

2 - When drafting the agreement, it should be taken into account that it does not violate the Federal Personal Status Law No. 28 of 2005 and its amendments, the public order and public morals.

3 - The competent judge and the family counsellor may be guided by the forms of agreements and maintenance schedules mentioned in this guidance."

Further, as a father, you are the natural guardian of your children in the UAE. This is in accordance with Article 181(1) of the Personal Status Law of UAE, which states: "Personal guardianship priority to the father then the paternal kinsman as per the degree of inheritance." Based on the same, you may continue to sponsor your children in the UAE.

After divorce, you would not be able to sponsor the residence visa of your ex-wife. Prior to applying for divorce at the Court, it is recommended that you both obtain legal advice from a counsel in the UAE.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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