Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Landmark Ruling from Abu Dhabi Court on the Economic Consequences of Abuse

A landmark ruling in Abu Dhabi requires abusive spouses to pay half the marital dowry:

A landmark ruling by the Federal Supreme Court has held that a husband divorced by his wife must pay her half the marriage dowry if there is evidence of abuse.

The ruling sets a precedent that will probably also affect continuing efforts to reform the family law system.

It is designed, experts say, to prevent a husband from abusing or harassing his wife with the intent of forcing her to divorce him – a situation that previously meant the wife usually forfeited the so-called “deferred dowry”.

The previous rule encouraged husbands to coerce their wives into seeking a divorce. Husbands would desert a wife for years and refuse to pay for her daily needs. “This happens all the time, in hundreds of cases,” said Nashwa al Qubaisi, a lawyer who deals with marriage and divorce disputes.

“This kind of ruling would definitely help prevent husbands from taking advantage of the family law. Sometimes a wife would even pay in order to get the husband to divorce her.”

Experts say the decision closes a gap in family law that, if the law does not address a specific situation, defers to an interpretation of Sharia law.

Read more here.


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