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family law


October 25, 2018

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How can I apply my country's law to a divorce case?

Question: I am married with two children but intend to divorce my husband because he does not support me financially. The problem is that work commitments mean I have to travel often. He may also file a custody case against me. Would this restrict any of us from travelling?

Answer: Filing a custody case does not impose a travel ban or travel restriction on any of the parties. However, you or your husband do have the right to ensure your children cannot live outside the country without the consent of the other party.

Question: My husband and I are residents of the UAE. I filed a case against him to claim financial support, divorce him and apply for custody of our children. Can he do anything to prevent me from applying the law of my home country?

Answer: A divorce case has to be filed with the family guidance committee before it goes to the family court. Once the case is filed, neither party can ask for their home country's law to be applied without the agreement of the other. If your husband agrees for your home country's law to be applied, the family committee is more likely to allow it - as long as it does not contradict UAE public morals.

If family guidance fails to resolve your marital issues, they may refer the case to family court. Once the case reaches the court, then both parties have the chance to apply their home country's laws.

But this rule has some points to be considered. For example, the person who requests to apply their home country's law must have it translated into Arabic and fully attested by the UAE Embassy in your country and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE.

If you and your husband want to apply another country's law but the two of you are from different countries, then the husband's country's law will be applied. But if your husband does not want to apply his home country's law then he has no right to block you from exercising your right.

Generally, applying an expatriate's law will not be considered if one of the parties has dual citizenship.

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.

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