What Expat Should Know About Divorce Law in UAE

What Expats Should Know About Divorces in UAE

When a couple decides to separate, the entire process of divorce could be so much complicated. These complications could be aggravated if the two parties are living in a foreign country and not acquainted with the prevailing law in the county where they are residing. Nowadays, divorce is a growing trend globally and the UAE is of no exception.

According to recent reports in local newspapers, the divorce ratio in the UAE are at Highest in the region, also its due to financial strain, loss of job, social media, marital infidelity and religious & cultural differences.

Getting a divorce in UAE is much quicker and simpler than your home country makes the expats choose to file the divorce in UAE rather than in their home country.

Expat can secure a mutual divorce as quick as one month from any Personal Status Courts located in all seven emirates, across UAE.

But beware, going for divorce should be in a genuine intention, or if the situation has gone out of control. Nobody likes to get the idea of divorce, so it must be chosen as the last option only, of no other means woks out. If you have decided to go ahead with divorce, kindly contact the legal expert on the same.

Moreover, it is vital to remain focused and positive in securing an amicable divorce agreement, that fits well for both parties and the family, especially when the children are involved.

Most of the lawyers encourage their clients to go for mutual consent, and counsel for an amicable settlement.

In UAE Adultery is a Criminal Offence and it may fall as a reason for divorce as well. Since it is a criminal act, it certainly has the potential to attract severe penalties for foreign expatriates, such as deportation, imprisonment, Federal law Number 3 of 1987, UAE Penal Code under Article 356 penalizes the one who commits adultery.

Divorce laws for Non-Muslim Couples

Expats can file divorce in the country if they have valid document.

  • UAE Residents
  • The Resident may be able to divorce as per their home country’s laws
  • The application for divorce in the UAE will follow their home country’s marriage laws

“Non-Muslim expatriate residents can file for divorce either in their home country (domicile) or apply for divorce in the UAE. If the parties wish to have the law of their home country applied, they may petition for this before the court.”

In case, both the parties plan to apply their home country’s law for the divorce proceedings, they must approach and petition for this before the court of UAE under Article 1 of Federal Law No 28 of 2005 for Personal Affairs.

In other scenario, if husband and wife fall under different countries, expert will be appointed to study that particular country’s laws.

Whenever the law of the parties’ home country fails to cover an aspect of the divorce procedure, the courts hold discretion to apply the UAE law.

Divorce laws for Muslim couples

Islamic marriages are governed by the Sharia law. If both husband and wife are Muslims and residents in the UAE, Sharia/UAE law will most likely be applied to their divorce. The same is likely if the husband is a Muslim and the woman is a non-Muslim.

The first step is to register a case at the Moral and Family Guidance Section in Dubai Courts, the department appoints the counsellor to reconcile or amicably settle the issues between, if both are adamant about the divorce, then the case will be forwarded to courts, this is when one desires to reconcile and while other doesn’t.

Mutually agreed Divorce will be much quicker too.

On the final day, the couple is presented before a judge who takes note of the details of the settlement. Inside the chamber only four people are present – the judge, the couple and a translator, the judge issues the divorce order.

The divorce order has duly attested by Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their consulate.

But again, if again couple wants to get back together, after divorce then they have to re-marry.

Child Custody

Custody laws in the U.A.E. In divorce cases, spouses typically fight over the custody of the child, and generally it is the mother who wins out in the U.A.E. Again, since the courts of law are only concerned with the child’s best interests, mothers are not awarded custody when they are deemed unfit.

However, as per the Personal Status Law, the mother’s custody of her male child may terminate upon him attaining 11 years of age. This is in accordance with Article 156 (1) of the Personal Status Law, which states: The custody awarded to women shall terminate upon the child reaching the age of 11 years, if a male, and 13 years, if a female, unless the court deems extending this age to the age of maturity, for the male, and up to her marriage, for the female, is in his/her best interest..

Tasheel Legal Consultancy, professional lawyers can help you for Family Divorce / Separate Cases in UAE including all the emirates Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, RAK and Umm al Quwain.

Call us: +97165363791 | +971 501750107 | +971 501758799