PRE-NUPTIAL AGREEMENTS IN UAE
What is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement
In simple words, it refers to that agreement that deals with the distribution of assets and other financial properties, in case the marriage comes to an end through divorce. Normally, this agreement is entered into by the couple before the marriage. However, they may also draft an agreement after the marriage, popularly known as post nuptial agreement.
Now, a lot of questions arise relating to the validity of the pre-nuptial agreement in UAE. In the next part of Article, we will discuss the same.
Validity of Pre-Nuptial Agreement
In the UAE, the provisions related to marriage and divorce are provided in the (Federal Law 28 of 2005) UAE Personal Law. The personal law doesn’t talk about the concept of pre-nuptial agreement. So, the UAE doesn’t have a specific law which shall govern such an agreement.
However, since it is a contract, it is dealt with under civil law just like any other normal contract. However, special care should be taken while drafting such an agreement as if any of the provisions of Shariah law is violated, the entire agreement would be invalid.
The Pre-nuptial agreement doesn’t have a standard format, and the parties are free to draft it as per their own need and convenience. However, it must contain some basic essentials i.e., voluntary intent to sign the contract, complete disclosure of information, equitable distribution and realistic or achievable prerequisites, etc.
If UAE nationals enter any prerequisite relating to their marital status or any other circumstances after the dissolution of marriage in the marriage certificate, that contract shall not be considered as an ancillary contract to the marriage. That prerequisite condition can be enforced as per the provisions of the civil law.
Difference between Muslim and non-Muslims
If the pre-nuptial agreement is entered between the Muslim expatriate living in UAE, it shall be construed according to the jurisdiction in which the divorce was finalised. So, if the divorce is finalised in UAE, the Pre-nuptial agreement wouldn’t be valid whereas if the divorce decree is pronounced in any other jurisdiction, the agreement would be subject to the provisions of civil transaction law of UAE.
In case of non-Muslims, the Pre-nuptial agreement shall be enforced and binding on the parties.The validity emanates from Article 1(2) of the Personal Status Law, which states that the foreign expatriates can apply their country laws in any family dispute. So, Pre-nuptial agreement shall be enforceable under UAE Law subject to their compliances with the governing law.
A pre-nuptial agreement deals with the distribution of financial responsibilities after the dissolution of marriage. The UAE Personal status law doesn’t govern this. So, for Muslim residing in UAE, the agreement would be void. Whereas, for non-muslims expatriates the agreement would be binding and enforceable.