Getting to Grips with Divorce in the UAE

Top financial tips from a woman who's been there.





Here in the GCC, family life is at the very heart of the Arab culture. Whether you're an expat in the UAE, Qatar, Oman or Bahrain, the chances are you will be enjoying a very full and fun family-friendly lifestyle.

But how much support is there if things start to go wrong?

Living in the sunshine doesn't give us immunity from life's ups and downs. With the demise of a relationship, families often find themselves exposed to a very painful experience, made all the more worse in the absence of the family and social support networks that are taken for granted back home.

Jane Smith (not her real name, to protect her identity) is a mother of three in the UAE and a client of Her Finance. Here she shares her inspirational story of separation, desperation and determination - all of which is a testament to the fact that all is not lost when faced with divorce:

It's hard to express just how painful and difficult divorce is for the whole family. But going through my separation while living here in the UAE made it all the more scarier.

As a wife and mother of three, I have always depended on my husband to take care of our family's major financial issues. If ever I expressed concerns about things like life assurance, medical insurance and savings, I had my husband's word that 'everything is okay.'

Sadly all was not okay. My husband met someone else and suddenly all my worries were very real.

I could have gone back home. That's what most women in my situation are forced to do. But I really didn't want to go home empty handed on top of everything else. Letting go of all my hopes and dreams was simply not an option. I wanted to do what was right for me and my children, and that meant staying here and regaining control of my life.

My advice to anyone who ever finds themselves in a situation like me is consult with a financial adviser. It really helps to have a professional point-of-view, to help you realise what possibilities are out there and how to achieve them.

The first thing on my list was getting a job, which very quickly went from being part-time to full-time. I did as my adviser suggested and started saving part of my salary with the additional help of the agreed maintenance from my ex-husband. It amazed me how quickly my savings plan took off from there. Just as quickly, I stopped missing the money that debited my account each month.

Of course, there had to be sacrifices. I have lived as frugally as I can with my youngest son. Brunches were condemned to the past, along with unnecessary purchases of clothes and shoes. But it has all been worth it.

By setting out my objectives with my adviser, I have been able to purchase a property in the UK, which I will soon move back to. I have a fully paid-off car. I have a growing savings pot. And I have protected myself and my children by taking out life insurance and medical insurance.

For other women out there going through what I have been through - please don't lose hope. Take back control of your life like I did. I love it.


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