“Rights of the Second Wife in UAE: Understanding Legal Entitlements in Polygamous Marriages”
In the UAE, as according to the Shariah Law, men are permitted to have multiple wives, with a maximum of four. Consequently, the second wife possesses specific rights as outlined by the UAE Personal Status Law (Federal Law No. 28 of 2005). Here are some fundamental rights granted to the second wife:
- Equitable Treatment: According to Article 55 of the UAE Personal Status Law, the husband is obliged to treat all of his wives fairly. Despite a man’s ability to have multiple wives, he must ensure equal treatment and fairness among them. The rights of a wife towards her husband include the freedom to pursue education, the right to visit her family members without opposition, the protection of her personal properties, the prevention of any harm to her physical or moral well-being, and the requirement of equitable treatment in cases where the husband has multiple wives.
- Alimony Rights: The second wife is entitled to receive alimony from her husband during the marriage, in accordance with the provisions of the UAE Personal Status Law.
- Conjugal Home: Article 77 of the UAE Personal Status Law stipulates that the husband cannot accommodate his second wife with another wife unless she provides consent or agrees to cohabitate with the other wife. However, the second wife retains the right to withdraw her acceptance if the situation becomes unfavorable for her.
- Equality in Donations and Dispositions: Article 62/2 of the UAE Personal Status Law emphasizes the importance of equality among the wives concerning donations and similar dispositions. Unless there is a valid reason, equal treatment must be maintained among the children and wives. The judge has the authority to enforce equality and exclude any unequal distribution from the succession.
- Share in the Husband’s Estate: Article 323 of the UAE Personal Status Law deals with succession and specifies the share each wife is entitled to receive from the husband’s estate. In cases where the husband has no succeeding descendant, including the second wife, each wife is entitled to one-quarter of the estate. However, if there is a succeeding descendant, each wife’s share is reduced to one-eighth of the estate.
It is crucial to note that the aforementioned rights specifically pertain to the second wife, even if the husband has not divorced his first wife. However, it is important to note that the first wife may still have the right to claim Mehr (dowry) based on the terms agreed upon in the marriage contract. It is crucial to adhere to the principles of Islamic law, which emphasize equal and respectful treatment of all wives. If any unfair treatment occurs, the first wife has the right to seek maintenance or other remedies. A
Legal Update: As of February 1, 2023, the UAE has implemented a specific family law for non-Muslim expatriate residents who choose not to apply their home country’s law. This law may introduce different provisions and regulations regarding rights in polygamous marriages.
For more detailed information, please consult with our legal professional to stay informed about the latest updates and understand the specific circumstances concerning non-Muslim expatriate residents in the UAE.