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Can a wife demand spousal maintenance if she is working?

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


UAE, Dubai, wife, spousal, alimony

Maintenance is a part of Family Law that is covered under the Personal Status Law. Within the UAE, the Personal Status Law controls marriage, divorce, succession, child custody, maintenance, and guardianship (in particular, Articles 142, 143, 144, 149 and 150). It is based on the Sharia Law, which is the interpretation of the Quran and the Prophet's traditions blended with the Sharia principles of the Imam Malik School. The Federal Law No. (28) of 2005 On Personal Status governs spousal maintenance in the UAE, and the wife has the right to petition the court to order the husband to pay her the unpaid support. According to Article 63 of the Personal Status Law, the husband is responsible for his wife and children.

Now although a woman may be working, as per the laws, a man cannot deny paying the woman maintenance on this basis. Although the wage that a woman earns might be a deciding factor on how much the maintenance should be awarded in the end the husband has to provide maintenance & child support. A judicial separation for abstention from support is one type of judicial separation that can occur when the husband fails to pay alimony to his wife. According to Article (124), if the husband refuses to support his wife and does not appear to have the financial means to pay the required alimony, the wife may seek a legal separation. If the spouse claims he is bankrupt but has no evidence to back up his claim, the judge can order an early divorce. If the husband refuses to answer whether he is solvent or insolvent and persists on not supporting his wife, the judge can allow him a month's respite, even if there is evidence of his insolvency.

As per Article 63 of the Personal Status Law, a husband is responsible for his wife & children in the following manner: -
1. Alimony covers food, clothes, shelter, medical care, servicing charges for the wife if she performs such services for her family, and all other necessary maintenance.
2. If the wife's financial situation does not fall below the "sufficiency level," attention will be given to her circumstances, her financial situation, place, and time in determining the amount of alimony.
3. When it comes to determining the type of maintenance to be offered, one eyewitness would suffice to decide the type of maintenance, housing, and other circumstances that should be provided. 
Women have the right to reclaim the money they've spent if they can show their husband's failure to pay was due to one of the following circumstances:
1. The terms of alimony are outlined in Article 67, which are as follows: Alimony to the wife is owed as a debt on the husband as of the date of refraining from payment, regardless of a court judgement or agreement. It cannot be forfeited unless it is paid or discharged. Because alimony is due to the wife under a valid contract if she is estranged from her husband, a claim for alimony for a period exceeding three years from the date of bringing the action in court will not be heard unless it is imposed by agreement because alimony is due to the wife under a valid contract if she is estranged from her husband.
2. Alimony is on the father for the child who has no financial resources, according to Article (78), until the girl marries, or the boy reaches the age at which his peers earn a living unless he is a student continuing his studies with normal success. The father is responsible for the child's expenses. If the father's child is missing or without cash, or if the father is unable to support him, the obligation for the child goes to the mother. However, if the father's financial situation improves and the expenses are authorised by him or by the judge, the mother may seek reimbursement from him (Article [80]).
If the husband pretends that he is not able to pay the alimony and is found guilty later then the law says a quick divorce is possible. If he could prove that he is in a difficult position, then the judge can give him 30 days to settle the things. A woman must prove to the court the status and financial level of her husband. Alimony is defined by law under Article 67, where it is always payable to the wife by the husband and there is no relaxation here. If it is not paid, then the court can also give an order that it should be considered a Debt. It shows that it must be paid by the husband at any cost. Recently a new standard of fixed payments has been introduced where a woman may ask for alimony as per the amounts defined by federal law.

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