I have found wife's photos with another man. Can I file for divorce in UAE?
Know the law in the UAE.
Q1) I found some photographs of my wife in a compromising position with another man. It was a relationship she had in her home country before she got married to me. Can I file for a divorce based on the photographs? Can I file a criminal case against her in the UAE though the incident took place in another country?
Pursuant to your queries, we assume that you and your wife are expatriates living in the UAE. As you allege that you found the photographs of your wife with another man in a compromising position, the provisions of Federal Law No. (3) of 1987 on issuance of Penal Code (the 'UAE Penal Law'), Federal Law No. (35) of 1992 related to Criminal Procedure Law of UAE (the 'Criminal Procedure Law of UAE') and Federal Law No. (28) of 2005 on Personal Status (the 'Personal Status Law of the UAE') are applicable.
It may be noted that in the UAE, having an extramarital affair or engaging in a relationship (sexual) without being married is punishable by law. This is in accordance with Article 356 of the UAE Penal Law. However, the alleged incident of your wife with another man took place before her marriage to you and outside the UAE. Therefore, the jurisdiction for any criminal proceedings against your wife shall not be in the UAE. This is in accordance with Article 16 of the UAE Penal Law, which states: “Provisions of this law shall apply to anyone who commits a crime within the territory of the State. The territory of the State shall include its lands and any place under its sovereignty, including territorial waters and air space above them.
A crime shall be considered to be committed in the territory of the State if any of its constituent acts occurs therein, or if its result has been realised or is intended to be realised therein.”
Further, Article 142 of the Criminal Procedures Law of UAE, states: “Jurisdiction shall be determined by the place where the crime occurred.”
Based on the aforementioned provisions of criminal laws, you may not be in a position to file criminal proceedings against your wife in the UAE.
Further, if you and your wife are expatriates, you are allowed to file for divorce in the UAE and may apply the provisions of law under which you had married in your home country or as per the personal law which govern you in your home country. This is in accordance with Article 1(2) of the Personal Status Law of the UAE, which states: “The provisions of this Law shall apply to citizens of the United Arab Emirates State 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.”
Based on the photographs of your wife in a compromising position with another man and supporting evidence, you may file a divorce case against your wife in the Personal Status Court of the emirate you are residing in. However, mere submission of photographs of your wife with another man in a compromising position prior to her marriage with you may be considered as a sufficient ground for divorce by the court in the UAE if the court is of the opinion that your wife breached your trust by concealing her previous relationship with another man. You may engage a legal counsel to advise you further in this matter.
Know the law
Having an extramarital affair or engaging in a relationship (sexual) without being married is punishable by law
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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