Separate Ways

Q – My partner and I recently separated following a lengthy relationship. We have one child together, aged 9, who lives with me. Following our separation my partner has moved to Dubai, to work, and is refusing to make any financial contributions for our son. What can I do?


A – If you are unable to reach an agreement with your partner about the financial contributions for your son, there are a number of options available to you –

You can submit a claim with the Child Maintenance Service for child maintenance if your ex-partner is working abroad:-

  • as an employee/member of HM Civil Service, HM Diplomatic Service or HM Armed Forces; or
  • as an employee of a company based, and registered, in the United Kingdom; or
  • on secondment for a prescribed body (such as a local authority or health authority)

Despite the fact that your ex-partner may be working abroad, the Child Maintenance Service will be able to calculate the contribution to be paid, and recover this directly from his employer.

However, the Child Maintenance Service can only take into consideration a gross weekly income of £3,000 per calendar week, in calculating financial support for your child; if you believe that your ex-partner’s gross income exceeds this figure it may be that an application to the court is required.

If your ex-partner does not work for one of the organisations listed above you will need to make an application to the family court for a financial provision for your son, and seek enforcement of the order in the United Arab Emirates.

These proceedings are complex, and very costly, with no guarantee that the order will be enforced. Whilst many countries have entered into an agreement with our country, to enforce orders made for financial provision for children, the United Arab Emirates is not one of these.

This is, regrettably, a complex matter and I would recommend that you seek independent legal advice, from a lawyer in England or Wales, before taking any further action; you may also be advised to seek legal advice from an independent lawyer in the United Arab Emirates.

If you have any questions about child maintenance, or other legal matters, please feel free to contact our family team at Berry Smith LLP on 02920 345511, 01656 645525 or