Divorce Laws in the United Arab Emirates | FHS Law Firm

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Divorce Laws in the United Arab Emirates | FHS Law Firm

Divorce Laws in the United Arab Emirates: A Comprehensive Guide

If you are an expatriate residing in the UAE and contemplating a divorce, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the divorce laws in the country. Here is the information you need to know:

Duration of Divorce Proceedings: In the Emirates, divorce cases are typically finalized within a month. Couples often pursue divorce as a last resort when all attempts to salvage their failing marriage have been exhausted.

The divorce process can be particularly challenging for expatriates, who are not only separated from their home country but also unfamiliar with the UAE’s divorce laws and regulations regarding child custody. This adds to the complexity of this stage, so we will talk in a brief overview of these laws.


Laws Applicable to Expatriates in the United Arab Emirates:

The legal framework in the Emirates is based on Islamic Sharia, which includes divorce laws. However, there are distinctions in divorce cases between Muslim and non-Muslim expatriates. A Muslim expatriate is subject to the provisions of Islamic Sharia, whereas a non-Muslim expatriate is governed by Federal Law No. (28) of 2008 AD, also known as the Personal Status Law.

Non-Muslim expatriates have the option to apply the laws of their country of marriage, provided they are duly clarified with the assistance of an interpreter from the Ministry of Justice.

In cases where a non-Muslim applicant for divorce willingly agrees to be subject to the laws of the Emirates, the local laws will be applied to them. However, if the applicant explicitly requests to settle their divorce case according to the laws of their home country, the court may allow this request, and the divorce proceedings will be conducted under the Personal Status Law in the Civil Court.


Divorce Cases for Expatriates and Division of Property and Financial Assets

Individuals seeking a divorce are required to approach the Family Counseling Department at the Personal Status Court and submit an application accompanied by their marriage contract. A counselor will attempt to facilitate reconciliation between the spouses, but if all efforts to reconcile fail, they may proceed with the separation process.

If one party disagrees with the divorce, the process becomes more complex and protracted. In such cases, the Family Guidance Department at the Personal Status Court will issue a letter addressing the disputed separation.

When both spouses mutually agree to the divorce, the Personal Status Court issues a divorce decree to each party in the form of a written document in Arabic.

During divorce proceedings, the division of property and financial assets of expatriates can be a significant aspect to address. The specific rules and regulations pertaining to the division of property and financial assets depend on various factors, including the applicable laws and the individual circumstances of the case.


Guardianship of children

In the United Arab Emirates, according to the law, the natural mother is granted guardianship and supervision rights over her child, while the father is responsible for providing financial support. The father is required to contribute to expenses such as the child’s education fees, and healthcare costs, and oversee their general behavior and financial matters. The legal guardianship of a minor child is generally entrusted to the mother under UAE law. However, the mother must demonstrate her eligibility to care for the child, including being mentally and physically capable and having the appropriate behavior to raise children. Moreover, it is essential for the mother to obtain court approval before getting remarried, as she cannot marry without such approval. In cases where the father is granted guardianship, a female relative, such as the child’s mother or another female family member, must be present to care for the child.


Division of property:

The division of property between spouses after divorce is often a contentious issue, and the United Arab Emirates law addresses this matter. According to the law, each spouse retains ownership of the properties registered in their respective names, such as lands, cars, companies, and other assets.

In cases of joint ownership, the court will make a ruling to resolve the division of property. Additionally, the UAE law places importance on ensuring that children are able to maintain the family home to foster a proper and secure environment for their upbringing.


Financial support for the custodial wife after divorce

Following the divorce, the husband is legally obligated to provide financial support to his ex-wife, ensuring her essential needs are met. This includes providing food, clothing, and housing for both the ex-wife and any children from the marriage. The husband is also responsible for covering the children’s education expenses as well as the wages of any drivers or household staff, if applicable.

The amount of alimony granted to the ex-wife is typically set at around 30% of her and the children’s financial requirements. However, the husband may choose to provide more if he deems it necessary for the well-being of his children and their mother.


In conclusion, divorce is often seen as a solution when the relationship between spouses becomes untenable. However, regardless of the circumstances, it is important for the spouses to strive to avoid hostility and escalating conflicts. It is crucial to separate amicably and always prioritize the best interests of the children, ensuring their needs are met by both parents. The mother takes care of the children, while the father contributes financially and actively participates in their upbringing. It is essential to remember that the divorce is between the spouses and not the children.

The information provided in this article offers a general overview of divorce procedures in the United Arab Emirates. For more detailed and reliable advice from experts in family matters, we encourage you to contact FHS Law Firm. Our firm is recognized as a leading company in the legal field, providing comprehensive legal services to individuals, companies, and assistance in resolving disputes. We are here to help facilitate the divorce settlement process, offering both legal support and the necessary moral guidance. Trust us for accurate life and legal advice.

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