STEP 3 – EXHAUSTION
If you are a mum you should be exhausted right? It comes with the territory they say.
Coming to the realization that yes I am alone, yes I can be happy alone and yes this is my life and I need to get on with it, I was in my routine, but I was exhausted. This is like the exhaustion or all exhaustions. Three children under 6, I had to not only keep alive and well, but I had to take care of my work, my health, the everything and all within 24hrs every day. Sleep does not help. I repeat, do not ever tell a single mother to get a good night’s sleep. I could sleep for 10hrs and still wake up exhausted as my brain is still awake trying not to forget everything that is needed to be done. At least the ex-husband would follow orders and help out at times. Weekly lists to him with a million follow ups, but he helped.
The children would spend every second weekend with their dad. When I first had my bliss and loneliness I would jump at the chance to go out…. FREEDOM. But then I really started to appreciate MY TIME ALONE to literally do nothing, absolutely nothing but rest my mind and body, when I could. If I had to work the weekends, I would go get that done then run at the chance of spending quality time with my couch. No one whatsapp or call me for please as I felt like I was run over by a truck over and over again. Even if the quality sofa time didn’t remove the exhaustion, its just what was needed and although I failed to recognize at the time that this also was needed with my healing process. It was ME TIME. It was not searching for ways to fill up my time, not complaining, simply me getting to understand what I needed at that time and actually being able to do it.
‘How do you do it all?’ People would ask me. i just do, but im exhausted I would say.
STEP 4 – DIVORCE
It’s been two whole years since I separated. Definitely no love lost and definitely not feeling like I made the wrong decision and need to reconcile. No thank you, I am good. But it’s been two years and really, the divorce step should have been done already, but life was busy and the routine was fine until…the ex-husband started showing a few different behaviours that I had not seen in the past two years. All of a sudden, he was ‘busy’ at times. Huh what? You can’t pick up the children at the same time you have for the past 2 years and you will be late? What? This started happening quite often. The things he used to follow were slowly slipping and my brain just told me I need to start researching about Divorce in the UAE it is really time.
I researched local lawyers well. I started researching local law and I don’t know why I had not done this earlier; my mind was blown. I had a zoom meeting with the best Family Lawyer I could find in Dubai who was also highly recommend by other mums. The things she told me, that I had stupidly no idea about all this time, I was in shock. I cried, I felt so unbelievably naïve, so taken for granted, so stupid and I wish I could turn back the hands of time.
Local UAE Family Law states: ‘A father is liable for his children’s education and living expenses, including rent and domestic employees’ salaries 100%. A wife must be supported by the father of her children fully, at all times unless a different mutual agreement is made after the divorce’.
Woman can also claim compensation for the period of time during the marriage that her husband failed to provide her with maintenance. This covers 100% of rent, living expenses, transportation, clothes…. everything.
I couldn’t wrap my head around this information. All of this time, I have paid my way and the ex-husband has paid his. I have paid my own rent, things I needed for the children, literally everything, because I could right? Wow, lets get this divorce show on the road asap. Let me claim what is rightfully mine and my children’s immediately.
Applying for a divorce in the UAE is relatively straightforward.
1. Take your Attested Marriage Certificate (no matter which country it was issued in) with the required Ministry of Justice stamp, EID and Passport copies of the Husband and Wife to any AL Adheed Typing Centre. Sign the document, pay a small fee and the case opening will be sent to the Dubai Courts.
Al Adheed Typing Centers have various branches around Dubai and are authorized by the Dubai Courts to provide specific Judicial Services such as opening a Family Law Divorce Case.
2. The Dubai Courts – Family Status Court will register your case once received and you can follow up on their website with the date of your hearing. They will first call you on the date stated to hear ‘your reason’ for the divorce and see if there is a resolution.
In my case I told them it’s been over 2 years we do not live together and there is no resolution happening here and both parties are happy to proceed with the divorce. They did try to get the husband on the phone to confirm the same, but after multiple attempts he didn’t answer, so the lady on the phone took my word for it and proceeded.
3. The Family Status court personnel then updates your case on their website with a new date for the next hearing. This hearing would either be to meet and reconcile or to make an ‘agreement’ for divorce.
My date was set for two weeks from this phone call, which wasn’t too long of a wait. However, I have heard this varies and really depends on who you speak to from the Court on the phone.
4. When attending your hearing date, be ready with what you would like to ‘agree’ on. If children are involved also state that mother has 100% Custody (and you may wish to state 50/50 Guardianship).
In my case I had no shared assets. All was about the children. I was very lenient in what I had listed. I should be asking for 100% of everything but I just needed the basics at least…Schooling, Medical Insurance, Nanny, Residency Visas covered. Really basic. Ill pay my rent and all else, if you do the above.
5. On Hearing date my Agreement agreed and then we proceeded to the Judge for the Divorce.
This literally took 5 minutes. We both stood in front of the judge, what he was saying was being translated and we just have to say we mutually agree for the divorce today and what we agreed in the ‘agreement’ will be followed through. Digital divorce certificate and the signed agreement will be emailed to you within 12hrs… Goodbye’.
Although quite quick, it was an emotionally draining day. It also felt a little too easy at this point. The ex-husband - I could officially call him that now, seemed so preoccupied the whole time on his phone and only popped up his head to ‘agree’ on things with no fuss, no real care.
Should I be worried? I started to worry once we left the court. Something didn’t feel right. I should be happy and relieved I am divorced and have a signed document that I will always have custody of my children and their father will support in many ways.
If I could go back to this day now, I would have trusted my gut feeling to allow me to worry.
Worry a lot.