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- المقالات القانونية
- الصفحة الرئيسية
November 24, 2021
In the recent changes, a new Federal Decree-Law on Civil Personal Status for non-Muslims has been enacted (hereinafter “Civil Personal Status Law”). The new Decree amends the previous practices applicable to the divorce of non-Muslims and allows the concept of unilateral divorce for the first time. The Civil Personal Status Law thus aims to provide more innovative solutions that will allow non-Muslims residing in the UAE to solve family disputes in a flexible manner.
According to Article 7 of the Civil Personal Status Law, ‘unilateral divorce’ will be granted by the courts if either spouse expresses in Court their desire to separate and terminate the marriage, without any need to justify their reason or to demonstrate harm or to put the blame on the other party. Article 7 reads as follows:
“It suffices for a divorce to be sought and take place that either spouse expresses before the court his/her wish to separate and not continue with the marital relationship, without the need to justify this request, indicate damage or blame the other party.
Further, the Civil Personal Status Law clarifies that the divorce process can proceed without the mandatory pre-requirement of completing mediation steps, as was the case earlier. As part of the unilateral divorce process, either spouse may now directly approach the Court for the divorce without the prerequisite of submitting their request for mediation under the family guidance department (Article 3). Article 3 reads “Divorce cases filed according to the provisions of this Decree-Law shall be excluded from referral to family guidance committees, and shall be referred directly to the court to issue a judgment at the first session.”
The Civil Personal Status Law applies to any non-muslim, whether it be a male or female, who is a national or has his or her domicile, or place of residence or place of work in the UAE. Further, under Article 1(1), this law will apply to non-Muslim foreigners unless they request the application of the law of their home country.
The Civil Personal Status Law brings about the establishment of specialized family courts that will conduct the court procedures in both Arabic and English. This is a landmark change that will provide enhanced transparency and ease of understanding to expatriates in their matters before the Court.
All in all, the new law is aimed at establishing advanced judicial procedures in the UAE, allowing for a legal framework that closely reflects the international best practices as well as the culture, customs and language of the expatriates in the region.
The above information might not apply if both parties are non-muslim. Starting from the 1st of February 2023, UAE issued specific family law to be applied between non-muslim expatriate residents in case none of them wanted to apply his/her home country's law in the UAE. To know more information about this law, please feel free to click this link.