How To File For A Divorce In The UAE – A Simple Guide

If you’re going through a divorce, it can be a distressing experience that requires dealing with practicalities. A lack of knowledge about the legal procedures involved in filing for divorce can complicate matters.

To assist individuals in such a scenario, here is a comprehensive guide on the process of filing for divorce in the UAE. As per Article 99(1) of UAE Federal Law No. 28/2005, divorce is the ending of a marriage contract in a legally prescribed form.

The courts in UAE have different stipulations in the laws that concern divorce for Muslims, expatriates, and non-muslims.

The divorce of Muslim couples will be according to the Islamic Sharia law. The same is the situation when the husband is Muslim and the wife is Non-Muslim. Non-Muslim expatriates can apply for divorce in their home country or in the UAE itself.

Is it easy to get a divorce in UAE?

If it is the concern of the parties to implement the law of their home country then they may petition before the court as per the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 for Personal Affairs. If the law of the home country fails to cover any aspects then that part will be as per the UAE law.

Is it easy to get a divorce in UAE?

The top reasons for divorces in the UAE are infidelity or extramarital affairs, poor communication is on the rank list of top reasons for breakups, loss of a job, religious and cultural differences, financial negligence, lack of support system, unrealistic expectations, social networking- where social media addictions have caused the relationship to fall apart, sexual incompatibility-which might be a result of long working hours, high pressure and even long commuting hours, in addition to child-rearing issues – where the career-oriented couples struggle to attend to their children without a support system.

Other legal reasons for divorce include mental incompetence, handicap, and non-payment of dowry. Reasons like adultery are punishable offenses and proving it might demand solid evidence. If the complaint is of desertion, then the minimum period should be of 1 to 2 years to constitute a divorce.

This article will contain a very brief outline of the divorce case proceeding, its requirements, and some of the best lawyers in the cities of Dubia and Abu Dhabi.

Best UAE Family Law Firms in Dubai & Abu Dhabi UAE

These are some of the top family law firms based in Dubai that are experienced in the field of Family Law and matters relating to the settlement of alimony, custody of children, child support, etc.

Best UAE Family Law Firms in Dubai & Abu Dhabi UAE

Dr. Hassan Elhais, Anal Khamis Advocates and legal consultants, Al Shaiba Advocates, Abdelrehman Almaazmi Advocates, and legal consultants, Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants, and  Proconsult Advocates.

These are the law firms that are experts in Family law based in Abu Dhabi. Fortis Law Firm, Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants, Ahmed Al Saedi Advocates and Legal Consultants, Ibrahim Khouri Lawyers, and Mohammed Al Marzooqi Advocates and Consultancy.

What to do before filing a divorce petition? 

One must keep in mind the factors like custody of the child and child support, property division, and spousal maintenance while proceeding with a divorce.

1. Attempt reconciliation

To file for a divorce in the United Arab Emirates, the initial procedure would be to register the case by both parties at the Family Guidance section at the respective judicial department, in any one of the emirates. The court then will proceed to appoint a conciliator, who will try to induce a compromise between the couples.

This conciliatory procedure is an integral procedure of divorce proceedings in the UAE. Even if there are no legal representatives to speak for both parties, they still can raise their concerns or matters relating to their marriages.

If the nature of the divorce is amicable and not disputed then the divorce can be concluded at this stage. Parties included will have to draft a settlement based on their mutual understanding and sign it before the conciliator.

2. Proceeding to the Court

If the couple or a single person in the commitment is adamant about getting the divorce, then the conciliator will issue a referral letter which will act as a pass to move on to the court to finalize their divorce case.

This referral letter can be furnished before the court at any time within 3 months from the date of issuance. Once the case reaches the court, the case will be conducted according to the stipulations instructed by the court. You will be obliged to furnish enough evidence to aid your cause; you should provide evidence to support your own claim against one another as well as in one’s own defense.

3 . Procedures of Divorce

The couple must be residents in the United Arab Emirates for a minimum of 6 months before filing for divorce. A person of any religion or nationality can approach the court for a divorce.

One might want to keep a copy and the original of the marriage certificate to prove that the marriage existed. A passport and an Emirates ID are also essential.

If the conciliatory stage did not prove to be fruitful in concluding with a compromise, the case will proceed to the First Instance courts.

You can bring a lawyer if you have but the court won’t deem it necessary and will still hear your plea without one. The court proceedings will be in Arabic but a translator will be provided if the situation demands.

There will be chances to provide a defense reply and the other party will be given a chance to review that defense and provide a counter reply. This might go on till the judge moves on to a judgment. There will be a 28-day time period to appeal.

The court will review the evidence of any claim that the parties come forward with. There are situations where the court assigns a referee- a team of 2 people to review the dispute and report who is at fault and the judge will make the decision upon it.

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The next court would be the Appeal Court, which follows the same procedures as the First Instance Court, but with 3 judges rather than one. 28 days are given for the parties to further the dispute.

The Court of Cassation will review the case next. They will go through the necessary documents and papers to ensure that the legalities were proceeded according to the stipulations. No new evidence will not be allowed to submit here.

The Enforcement Court brings the verdict into effect. If the divorce is settled at any previous stages then the case can be forwarded to the last stage of proceedings at this court.

Divorce might be an uncomfortable situation in one’s life. But the right people to aid you and with experts to guide you through the situation will be a great asset at this time.

Divorce cases in the United Arab Emirates are quite speedy and efficient where one can close the case within 3 to 6 months, faster than most Western jurisdictions.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who gets the custody of the child in a divorce?

The mother of the child is the natural custodian and the father is the natural guardian. Custody includes the day-to-day care of the child and the guardianship includes financially assisting the child and providing food and shelter.

2. How much does the process of Divorce cost?

The cost usually ranges from Dh 8,000 to Dh 12,000. Disbursements are an addition. This cost range is excluded from the Financial settlement.

3. Eligibility to be a child’s custodian.

The individual must be rational and mature enough and have attained the age of puberty. Honest and capable of bringing up and taking care of a child. They must be free from infectious disease and should not have been sentenced for a crime of ‘honor’.

4. How are assets divided in the UAE after divorce?

According to UAE law, individuals simply retain the assets and property held in their names. If all assets are held in one party’s sole name, the other cannot claim against that.

5. Are prenups agreed in UAE laws?

There are no specific laws regarding the prenuptial agreement. But they can be accounted as a factor in dividing a party’s assets.

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