Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements in the UAE spell out the ways in which couples are to divide their assets should the marriage dissolve. They are to be drafted carefully with the help of a legal professional, but there’s still a chance for circumstances to change regardless of how carefully prenups and postnups are crafted. The local court may find a valid reason for invalidating an agreement.
A way in decreasing the likelihood of that happening would be to ensure UAE legislation is followed with the agreement. Also using common sense would help.
Crucial factors that influence local courts in upholding agreements as valid are the following:
- Written, signed, and agreed by contracting parties – prenups and postnups are to be in written form. An oral prenup is not valid within the UAE.
- Parties are to disclose each of their financial situations – contracting parties to a prenup or postnup should reveal assets and liabilities. This is a sure way in having a prenup or postnup validated. If one party holds back in revealing assets or liabilities, the local court can consider the agreement as null and void. The local courts hold husbands and wives to have a fiduciary duty to each other. This means they’re to deal honestly and fairly with one another. Parties that fail in disclosing their assets can suffer in the hands of the court which finds a contract invalid.
- The information must be true and correct – all information that is added in the contract must be true and correct. Apart from including assets and liabilities, the court will ensure that the details revealed are backed with documentary proof that they’re true.
- Parties must have mental capacity in signing a contract – parties that are under the influence regardless of whether it’s alcohol or medication will be considered as without the mental capacity in signing a legal document.
- Parties must have the opportunity in comprehending fully the implications and consequences for signing an agreement – the contracting parties must not have signed the document under duress. They are to be given the opportunity to fully considering the ramifications of signing a document.
- No amendments following the signing of the agreement – there should be no clause that is added onto a document and there should be no language that’s added to the document following its signing.
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Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in the UAE are to comply with the requirements listed above in order for them to be deemed valid whenever they’re challenged in court. Prenups and postnups are even more airtight if they included clauses that state the rights of every contracting person given up in accordance with the local UAE legislation.
If a couple decides to divorce and there’s no prenup or postnup, the local courts will consider the property accumulated by the couple in the court of their marriage to be community property. This means assets will be divided equally when the couple divorces.
What are the clauses that shouldn’t be in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in UAE?
Although it’s possible for local courts to find specific clauses that are invalid but would still uphold other parts of an agreement, it’s better to practice if you know the clauses that can be offending. They are to be left out of a contract starting from the very beginning.
- The clause related to child support – a pre or postnuptial agreement in UAE may provide more child support than what’s required by the local legislation; however, it can’t provide any less. A party is not allowed to waive the right in receiving child support.
- An unconscionable agreement – with an agreement that is grossly unfair wherein one party prospers financially with another one facing extreme financial hardship, an agreement will be most likely considered as invalid.
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Who needs a Prenuptial or Postnuptial agreement in UAE?
Prenups or postnups are not for everyone. Young couples that get married most likely don’t have assets yet. They don’t bring any assets to their union, which means there’s no need for a contract. There is an exception and that is if a spouse or both parties receive a huge inheritance or a large sum of money from a party’s family trust.
Prenups and postnups will prove to be essential for those that enter into a marriage with assets or large estate. A pre or postnuptial agreement is going to help in protecting the premarital assets of a spouse since income and property in a marriage will become community property.
When a couple of divorces, an agreement can give a spouse protection from being liable to any debt a spouse brings into a marriage. It is advised to seek legal assistance with legal drafting, especially for pre and postnuptial agreements.