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Visa Rules for Divorced Women in the UAE

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Staff Writer, TLR

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

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Marriage is a blissful moment in any individual’s life and the situation of divorce is the anathema to it. It shatters the life of the couple, more so to the woman if she is dependent on her husband for her economic needs.

It causes immense stress on the woman if she is an expatriate and the divorce happens on a foreign soil. In order to mitigate the misery that the woman is exposed to in the event of divorce, the UAE Government has redefined the rules governing the issue/extension of her visa.

The redefined visa rule is an olive branch to a divorced woman when she is in deep distress following the divorce. Concerns like the well being and the holistic growth of her minor children are also addressed in the modified rules.  

 Extension of Residence Visa

The grounds for the separation may be whatsoever. When she is living in the UAE on her husband’s visa or is divorced, the UAE Government grants her an extension of one year on her residence visa subject to production of divorce certificate, prove that she has housing, the ability to earn a wage to sustain herself and the children as well as provide medical certificate of her and her children.

The extension commences with effect from the date when the trial court grants her the legal separation from her estranged husband, provided the visas of the woman and her children were valid at the time of separation.  The minor children of the woman are also entitled for the same privileges as that of the mother. Furthermore, the extension thus granted is renewable for once only and does not require a substitute sponsor.

 Custody and Guardianship Law

In consideration of the well being of the children following the divorce, the UAE Government has put in place, a law termed as custody and guardianship law. The essential feature of this law is that it assigns specific responsibilities to the mother as well as the father. The custody of the children is granted to the biological mother till they attain the age of 13 in the case of girl and 11 in the case of boys.

The custody which often is granted to the mother involves day–to-day care, including education, medical treatment, religious guidance and accommodation. Usually the mother gets the custody of the minor child if she is able to prove that she is rational, mature, honest, free from any infectious decease and able to bring up a child.

Besides, she is also forbidden from getting remarried without the permission of the court. In certain cases she may also claim the right to extend the custody of the children period until her son has completed the education or her daughter gets married. The father, being a guardian, is liable to provide financial support for upbringing the children.

 Visitation Rights

An equally important consideration is visitation. Guardians usually have the right to visit their children and spend time with them.  A judge will usually grant one or two such visits to them weekly, unless the settlement is otherwise.

In case the father intends to move the children away from the country, the wife has always the right to restrict such movement with legal aid.

 Entitlement and Forfeiture

A divorced woman is also entitled to claim compensation towards accommodation for her as well as her children. The divorced woman is also entitled to education expenses of children, and salaries for any necessary employees such as drivers, maid etc. to the extent of 30% of her ex-husband’s income.

On the other hand, she forfeits any right to maintenance if:

She abandons her marital home
Denying sexual relationship to her husband
Refuses to travel with him.

 Conclusion

The effects associated with divorce affect the couple’s children in both, the long and short term. After divorce, the couple experience effects including decreased level of happiness, change in economic status, and emotional issues.

Upon children, the effects include academic, behavioral and psychological problems.  Therefore, in the best interest of the progeny, it becomes a responsibility to work-out a meeting ground and resolve marital discords, if any.

By Mr. Ramachandra Yadapadithaya

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