Introduction

Comprehensive divorce agreements in the UAE should cover various aspects beyond joint custody to ensure all legal, financial, and personal matters are addressed.

We have in previous publications addressed the recent changes applying to non-muslim marriages and divorces in the UAE. You may take a look to this publication advancing the basics of the new legislation or to this publication going deeper into the novelties upon the release of the implementing regulations.

Advantages of Divorce Agreements in the UAE

The beauty of divorce agreements in the UAE is that Parties are able to be divorced fast, at a minimum cost (if compared with litigation), control over outcome, protecting the relationship, maintaining privacy of the terms, keeping mental sanity, ensuring that the decision is fully enforceable, and walking out feeling satisfied with a negotiated win win outcome.

Having addressed the advantage of a settlement over a judged divorce, below we list the key elements that divorce agreements should list or at least consider during its drafting.

Property Division in Divorce Agreements in the UAE

Property comprises marital property, financial accounts and debts and liabilities.

Marital Property: soon to be ex-spouses should list detailed inventory of all marital assets and how they intend the division of real estate, vehicles, furniture, and other personal property.

Financial Accounts: a divorce agreement in the UAE should address the division of bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, and pensions and the procedures for transferring or splitting accounts.

Debts and Liabilities: divorce agreements in the UAE should address the allocation of responsibility for shared debts (mortgages, credit card debt, loans) and the procedures for paying off joint debts.

Spousal Support

Divorce agreements in the UAE should list the amount, duration, and terms of spousal support payments together with the conditions for modification or termination of support (remarriage, cohabitation).

Child Support

Family agreements should also contain the calculation of child support based on income, together with provisions for adjusting support due to changes in circumstances (income changes, needs of the child).

Health and Insurance

Health Insurance:

Agreements should address who’s responsible for maintaining health insurance for children.

Life Insurance:

Parties cannot omit requirements for life insurance policies to secure child support or alimony obligations and the designation of beneficiaries and policy details.

Education and Extracurricular Activities

This is usually part of the joint custody aspects: who will cover school, college tuition, and other educational costs including extracurricular activities. With regard to these aspects parents must agree not only on who will make the payments and how but also how decisions will be taken.

Living Arrangements

Parents address decisions regarding the marital home (sale, transfer of ownership, refinancing), together with the timeline and conditions for vacating or selling the home.

Joint Custody

As part of the joint custody parents should consider the below aspects:

Parenting Schedule: divorce agreements should contain a detailed schedule for regular parenting time (weekdays, weekends) and the treatment of holiday and vacation schedules, specifying how holidays, school breaks, and vacations will be divided.

Transportation and Exchanges: parents should think about the arrangements for transportation and the location for child exchanges, together with responsibility for transportation costs and logistics.

Decision-Making Authority: divorce agreements should specify areas requiring joint decisions (education, healthcare, extracurricular activities, religion) and the process for making major decisions and resolving disputes (mediation tends to work great before resorting to Court, for example).

Communication: parents need to set the guidelines for communication between parents (methods, frequency) and the  expectations with the child (phone calls, video chats) when kid/s are with the other parent.

Child Support: This is one of the main aspects of divorce agreements:

    • What are the financial responsibilities of each parent?
    • Who and in which proportion will each parent cover healthcare, including insurance and medical expenses?
    • Who will cover the cost of extracurricular activities and other child-related expenses?

Health and Safety: This is an aspect that is rarely put in writing but we recommend, how to communicate and organise in the event of emergency procedures? How will the parents have access to medical records and attendance at medical appointments?

Other Considerations when drafting Divorce Agreements in the UAE

At the time of drafting the divorce agreement in the UAE, parties can also consider miscellaneous provisions such as:

  • Relocation Aspects.
  • Modification of the terms agreed. Conditions under which the custody arrangement can be modified.
  • Methods for resolving disputes (mediation, counseling, court intervention).
  • Parental Conduct: including guidelines for parental behavior (non-disparagement, involvement of new partners).
  • Education aspects such as school choice and involvement in educational activities. Access to school records and participation in school events.
  • Confidentiality: Agreement on confidentiality of the divorce terms and related matters.
  • Communication guidelines for future communication between parties.

Conclusion to Divorce Agreements in the UAE

A well-drafted divorce agreement should be clear, comprehensive, and tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of both parties. Consulting with a legal professional is crucial to ensure that all aspects are adequately addressed and the agreement is legally binding.

UAE expats often need to take the local idiosyncrasies of the country together with the practice in their countries of origin. Doing so involves being very proactive to ensure that they reach the fairest terms vis a vis their conditions at the time of the separation.

***

We hope this publication will help you understand the drafting of divorce agreements in the UAE and remain available for any questions regarding this post of general application.

For more information published in English you can visit all our publications at this link as well as the videos in English of our Partner Maria Rubert.

*The information on this page is not intended to be legal advice. This article is intended to provide an initial introduction to the drafting of divorce agreements in the UAE.