family law

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August 03, 2022

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Interfaith marriage refers to situations where spouses who belong to different faiths conclude a marriage.

The United Arab Emirates is a tolerant country and welcomes individuals from different countries and faiths to make the UAE their home. Under the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 on Personal Status, marriage is considered to be a legal contract between a man and a woman which aims to protect and form a steady family (Article 19).

For a marriage to take place under the Personal Status Law of 2005, certain conditions would have to be met. These are:

  1. The bride must approve of the marriage.
  2. Both parties must be residents of the UAE. However, in Dubai, at least one party to the marriage should have a residence visa.
  3. A pre-marital screening certificate should be obtained. This is issued by the public healthcare facility in the UAE. This ensures that any communicable disease is not spread.

Marriage of Non-Muslims in the UAE

Non-Muslims can now conclude a civil marriage under the Federal-Decree Law No. 41 of 2022 On Civil Personal Status. The law lays down, under Article 5, the conditions required to be fulfilled for the parties to have successfully entered into a valid marriage:

  1. The spouses must have attained the age of 21 years.
  2. The marriage must not be with someone within the prohibited degrees of marriage.
  3. The spouses must have consented to the marriage in front of the judge.
  4. The spouses must sign the disclosure form

What is the procedure for contracting a civil marriage in the UAE?

The procedure to contract a civil marriage under the Civil Personal Status Law is explained under Article 6.

To contract a civil marriage in the UAE, the foreigner would have to apply for a specified form that is prepared for this purpose. There is no requirement of submitting a medical examination certificate before marriage.

Marriage will take place after both spouses have filled in the form before the judge. The conditions of the contract of marriage may be mutually agreed upon between the parties, taking into consideration the rights during the marriage and in the event of divorce.

Any previous marital relationship would have to be disclosed in the form. The date of divorce would have to be stated and the proof of the non-existence of any current marriage relationship will have to be proved.

Once it is verified that all conditions for contracting a civil marriage have been met, the judge will ratify the marriage after the procedures set out above have been completed. The marriage contract will then be registered in the register which is prepared for this purpose.

Shariah Marriage

Further, citizens and expatriate residents can conclude their marriage under Shariah principles, which would apply to the following persons, irrespective of their nationalities:

  1. In case both groom and bride are Muslims; or
  2. In case the groom is Muslim and the bride is from “Ahl Al Kitaab”.

Conclusion

Accordingly, marriages can be concluded in several different ways in the UAE, depending upon your residence, your faith and your citizenship.

Legal Update:
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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Disclaimer: There have been recent changes/amendments in the provisions of the UAE Family Law covered in the content on this website. The views and opinions in the articles are contemporaneous with the time of its publication only and do not necessarily address any matters after the recent amendments of the law or supreme court decisions issued after the date of this publication. The content of this website contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments. Such content is designed only to give general information on the developments actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of recent developments in the law, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice or render a legal opinion. Since the law is constantly changing and since the law will vary based on different facts and circumstances, statements on this website regarding the status of a given law or legal issue may not be current or applicable to your particular situation. You should not take any action based on the information in this website. Each legal issue depends on its individual facts and different matters have different laws and regulations. We may make changes to the features, functionality or content of the website at any time.


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