Wife not liable for husband's debt in the UAE unless she was co-borrower or guarantor

My husband, from whom I have been separated for a year, absconded from Dubai at the end of last year, leaving debts of around Dh100,000. It is mostly owed to his landlord, who I believe has filed a police case against him. I have been living in Ireland for the past three years and we have lived apart for all this time, although we have a child. I have now been offered a really good job in Dubai and I would love to take it. My problem is if I take the job would I be arrested and held liable for my husband’s debt? None of the debt was in my name. I understand to sponsor my children I need to provide his passport documentation and a no-objection letter from him. I just worry that I will get to Dubai and the authorities will refuse my request to sponsor my children because of his debt. I would add that I have since visited Dubai on holiday last month and everything was fine. GH, Ireland

Unless the debt was in joint names, or GH was a guarantor, she is not legally responsible for her husband’s bad debts and there should not be an issue with her returning to Dubai to work, as her recent visit shows. She can check this by getting a friend who is in Dubai to go to a main police station with a copy of her passport to confirm that no police cases are registered against her. Although the husband’s permission is required to sponsor the child, the issue of a debt is separate and I would not expect this to cause any issues regarding sponsorship, as the permission is really just a formality.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.


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