Procedure for Divorce in the UAE Part One

In accordance with the UAE’s Shariah law principles that regulate the arena of Family Law, certain procedures must be undertaken in order for a valid marriage contract to be terminated. For Muslims in the UAE, there are two pathways to divorce and we will cover the first one here:

  • The divorce can be commenced by the husband or by the wife if her husband gave her the right to do so in the marriage contract.
  • If the wife is not given the right to divorce the husband within her marriage contract, she may still do so for reasons of ‘harm’. These will be outlined in a future email.
  • The first route to obtaining divorce is by pronouncing the ‘Talaq’ – which means “I divorce you” in Arabic.
  • The husband or wife must say or write ‘Talaq’ in the presence of a witness, who could then be called upon to give evidence in court if a dispute arises at a later point about the existence of the Talaq.
  • While religiously, divorce is effected at the point the Talaq is recounted, for legal purposes a document must also be filed with the courts registering the divorce. As Article 106 of the Personal Status Law extrapolates: “divorce is considered valid when…the judge authenticates it”.
  • It’s important to note that there could be financial implications for any partner who commences a divorce and pronounces a Talaq without the consent of their spouse.

We will look at the other route to divorce in our next email. But if one or more of these issues may relate to your situation, please contact Dr. Hassan Elhais.


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