How Husbands Can Protect Themselves Against Financial Claims in a Divorce Case

This being one of the most important questions asked by many who face the dilemma of divorce proceedings. Based on our experience, we have summarized a few of the commonly used ploys used by husbands against their wives, while we have represented the wives.

1. Obtaining Loans

The first thought running through a husband’s claim is how to minimize the financial judgment at the time of the divorce is to attempt to take loans, including credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, credit lines, car financing, etc. this results in the increase of their liability and they try to prove to the judge that due to their liabilities, they are unable to pay a financial claim raised by the wife. The judge is required to look at the assets and liabilities of the husband prior to declaring the settlement amount.

1a. Issues

There are a few issues with this tactic used by the husbands and it is fair to say that deploying this is not helpful or in their favor. In this respect, the court looks at a few things. Firstly, they look at the nature of the loan and can decide that this loan was not taken out of necessity but as a luxury. Such liabilities have little effect on the settlement amount. Secondly the judge also look at the timing of the liability. If the liability was undertaken after the divorce proceedings or dispute, then that makes the husband’s case very weak since the court could have reservation regarding the intent of the loan. Due to these factors, obtaining loans to increase liability does not work in practice. Moreover the rate of expenses and the standard of life prior to filing the case is take under consideration to show the husband’s actual income.

2. Declaring a lower income

Husbands commonly adopt this tactic to declare lower income in order to not make a settlement payment to their wives in the event of a divorce. He can do this verbally by telling the court that his salary is a certain amount, which in reality is more. He can also do this by refusing to provide a salary certificate showing his income.

There are a few issues in this tactic.

a. Firstly, the court has the authority to demand a salary certificate from the husband and the husband must comply with the judge’s order. The court can demand the salary certificate directly from the employer of the husband as well, should the judge need to do so upon the wife’s request.

b. In the second instance, the judge can authorize the wife to obtain his income report and the breakdown of his salary and other receivables from his work or from the bank. Additionally, the wife has the right to request the bank statements of the previous year. Shortly, the court has a few ways by which the husband’s income can be verified. Hence, it is safe to say that any attempts to hide the income of the husband are unlikely to succeed.

3. Spending money on other family members

This tactic results in the husband’s spending money for maintaining other members of his family by transferring money to the other family members in the presence of a witness.

The logic behind this ploy is that according to the law, the man of the family is required to pay towards the maintenance of his parents and younger siblings if they need his financial support. The total family case expenses should not exceed 40% of this income. The woman is normally given up to 25%. In our experience, it has shown that this practice can lower the wife’s settlement by 5%-10%.

4. Attempt to invalidate the jurisdiction

It is also not an uncommon practice to try to cancel the wife’s residence visa in order to invalidate the jurisdiction of a UAE court to adjudicate on the divorce. This happens when the wife is sponsored by the husband and has filed the case against him. It is a requirement of a divorce that the claimant must be residents of the UAE and by cancelling the wife’s visa, the husband tries to invalidate the divorce on a technicality as the claimant is not a resident anymore.

There are a few problems with this approach that might make this difficult for the husband. Firstly, it is the discretion of the immigration department if they cancel the wife’s visa whilst the case is ongoing or not. Should they chose to not cancel the wife’s visa, there is very little that the husband can do to challenge that decision.

Secondly, the judge has the discretionary power to ignore this point and continue the divorce in the UAE courts. This makes the scenario difficult for the husband and this tactic is not a reliable one and is known to not work in the UAE courts due to the discretionary powers allotted to the judges in these matters.

The wife can get a work visa if she is employed or open a free zone company in order to sponsor herself and get an investor visa, or she also has the option to apply for a 6 months humanitarian visa.

5. Fabricating a criminal case against the wife

An attempt by the husband to fabricate a criminal case against the wife is the worst action that a husband can take with potentially dangerous consequences. In these cases, the husband opens a false criminal complaint against the wife in order to pressurize her to settle and try to get that advantage. Criminal proceedings are very serious offences in the UAE with strict jail sentences and even deportation.

If the wife can prove that the charge against her was fabricated with bad faith, she could in-turn have a claim against her husband for the criminal charge of False Criminal complaint according to the UAE Penal Code Article 275 and 276 of the UAE Penal Code of 1987.

The criminal case can be followed by a civil case for compensation after the criminal judgment. Hence it is advised that husbands should not wrongfully accuse their wives of any criminal charges especially if they are no supported by evidence. Also, the wives need not worry as long as they know they have not breached the law

6. Proving the wife’s income

Husband also try to prove that the wife’s income is more than theirs and try to argue the fact that they should not be made to pay any amounts towards the settlement. They also demand a settlement from the wife on the basis of the wife’s high salary.

Such claims never work as they are against the principles of Shariah Law. Under Shariah Law, the husband is financially, fully responsible for the wife’s living and expenses and maintenance. This is regardless of the financial standing of the wife and her income. It will be prudent to mention here that any monies paid by the wife towards the maintenance of her house, herself or the kids can be demanded by the wife in a divorce settlement. These amounts can be backdated to 3 years and if there is enough proof of these expenses, the court always directs the husband to reimburse the wife in full.