UAE has introduced a new set of federal laws regarding marriage, divorce, custody of children, and inheritance of wealth of non-Muslim expats in the UAE. The new law sets out clear-cut regulations and rules regarding marriage and issues of divorce settlements etc. It will also have regulations about the proof of paternity and wills that often become court cases in the UAE.
These changes have been made as part of a larger scheme to align the law and order of the UAE with international communities and to promote the nation as a talent-friendly place where people can come and settle down.
new legislation that effects in February
Women are given equal rights in multiple laws under this new law. They have similar claims to the right to file for divorce, custody of children, inheritance, etc. Witness testimony is another central right given to women in court which put the witness statement of women equal to that of men’s witness statements.
Dr.Hasan Elhais of Al Rowaad Advocates, Dubai said that the new law allows both parents to apply for custody of the child but the final decision would be taken by the court keeping in mind the future of the child. Civil marriage regulations also have been put in place and anyone who wishes to get married under this law should be 21 or above and also sign a declaration form in front of the judge.
He said that the divorce procedures have also been made hassle-free. Now, either of the couples can approach the court and ask for a divorce without the need for any sort of justification or blame against the other person.
UAE has opened a non-Muslim court in Abu Dhabi which works within the new federal law decrees. These laws were already introduced in Abu Dhabi and now these are being applied throughout the whole of UAE. The non-Muslim residents will also have the freedom to opt for the law of their own native land if they don’t prefer the UAE expat laws.
Elhais said that the new law puts the divorce under a more preferable context that can be applied as a matter of incompatibility rather than as a result of causing some kind of harm. The alimony will also be decided based on different factors like the income of the spouse, the extent of responsibility of the husband in the divorce, total married years, etc.
Around June of this year, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) had around a thousand marriage registration under the expat court as part of the new law that was introduced in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of 2022. It also received around fifty divorce cases and twenty inheritance cases.
Youssef Saeed Al Abri, the under-secretary of ADJD felt confident in the new expat laws that were introduced in Abu Dhabi. He said that these new laws will help build more trust in the UAE administration as the people who come here to work and live a peaceful life will also have a chance to opt for liberal rules to solve their personal matters.
Al Abri also pointed out that the new rules and laws are specifically in tune with the vision of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister and Chairman of ADJD to create a comfortable and inclusive environment for all the expats who visit and work in UAE.
The laws created for these courts are in tune with the secular structure of other modern laws found in western societies or other liberal communities. The Abu Dhabi expat court proceedings are all in English and available in digital formats. More such courts will be opened in other parts of the UAE according to the new directive.