Emma and her husband separated while living in Dubai. The laws of the UAE left her in a vulnerable position and with limited rights to their shared house, and even her children. Our international divorce solicitors fought hard to help her secure a better deal.
Emma married her British husband while they lived in England, and four years later they moved to Dubai with their two children. However, when they separated after living in Dubai for 10 years, the divorce process began under UAE law. Emma found out that these different laws would have a profound effect on her life.
The couple had bought their family home in Dubai using funds from selling a jointly-owned property in Essex. But Emma couldn’t get her share of the Dubai home because it was only in her husband's name and not hers.
In addition, their children 'belonged' to her husband under UAE law and would remain in Dubai with him. This came as a shock to Emma, so as well as seeking legal advice in Dubai she called on our family law solicitors in the UK for support.
International Legal Co-ordination
We advised that it would be in her best interests to pursue the divorce in England. As we worked alongside Emma’s lawyers in Dubai, she learned that her ex-husband had made a financial order against her. She wasn’t allowed to attend the relevant hearing and couldn't challenge her ex-husband's evidence.
Emma also found out that the financial order was calculated on issues like her attractiveness and qualifications, as well as how long she may be without a husband.
The UAE courts awarded Emma a trivial financial settlement for a marriage which had lasted more than 15 years. To make matters worse, the legal circumstances meant that Emma felt that she couldn’t safely return to her new home of Dubai.
We studied Emma's legal position and advised her to apply to the courts in England and Wales. After several hearings, she got permission to apply for additional financial relief.
A Brighter Future
We successfully secured a valuation on the Dubai property and information about the husband’s pension. We identified that the husband had a military pension and other retirement savings in England.
Our solicitors put a creative strategy in place that involved freezing these pension assets here in England. As a result, Emma managed to secure a substantially bigger financial award in England than the one she got under UAE law. What's more, Emma and her children are now reunited and living together back in England.
Clare Wiseman, a family law Partner at Irwin Mitchell, worked on Emma's case. "This type of case demonstrates how important it is to have specialist, international legal advice," she said. "Due to our experience in such cases and our contacts in the UAE we were able to secure the outcome Emma deserved."
"I was very worried how living in Dubai may affect our divorce," said Emma. "Irwin Mitchell’s support was invaluable and they worked tirelessly to help get a fair deal, the outcome could have been so much more difficult without the efforts of Clare and her team."
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