Question: I am a Muslim woman, married to a Muslim man for two years and have no children by him. I am currently 7 months pregnant but I am at odds with my husband and want a divorce. My question is, in the event of a divorce, do I have a legal right to housing benefit and maintenance for my child? How long does the Sharia court take to rule on such cases? Please advise
Answer: First, you have the right to request, but are not limited to, the following child support payments:
A) Housing allowance with furniture, water and electricity, telephone and internet bills.
B) Monthly maintenance for the child and later maintenance for his education.
C) Maintenance for you to care for the child.
Articles (78), (79) and (148) of the UAE Personal Status Law state:
• The support of the destitute child is borne by the father until the girl’s marriage or until the boy reaches the age at which those around him can earn a living, unless he is a student pursuing his studies with normal success.
• The costs of breastfeeding the child are borne by the father if the mother is unable to feed him and are considered maintenance.
• The foster child’s father or other caregiver is responsible for looking after their affairs, discipline, guidance and upbringing.
• Whoever is responsible for the maintenance of the foster child must pay the rent of a foster woman, unless she has her own apartment in which she lives or is affected for this purpose.
D) Idda Alimony for her pending childbirth under Article 69 of the UAE Law (Alimony and Waiting Placement – “idda”) is due to the divorced person in a reversible divorce if the divorced woman is pregnant).
E) Provision of a maid with the associated costs.
F) While the case is pending, you can apply for urgent and temporary maintenance for yourself and your child pending a final judgment. Pursuant to Article 68 of the Law, the judge, upon the wife’s application, orders provisional maintenance to be paid to her and his decision is enforced summarily and by operation of law.
Second, there are three stages of the process: court of first instance, court of appeal and court of cassation. The time period for each of these phases depends on the situation.