family law


November 26, 2020



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The Personal Status Court in Dubai deals with divorce matters for both Emiratis and Expatriates.

The divorce process in Dubai is usually straightforward and involves the steps of counselling (not mandatory for non-Muslims), settlements, and court appearances which also require proper supporting documents to be submitted at each step.

In this article, we would like to provide you with a checklist of general requirements for filing a divorce proceeding in Dubai.

  1. Marriage Certificate:

If the marriage has been contracted outside the UAE, then the marriage certificate has to be legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country where the marriage was solemnized and then attested by the UAE embassy in that country. Thereafter, the marriage certificate has to be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE, translated into Arabic and attested by the Ministry of Justice in the UAE.

If the marriage has been solemnized before the UAE Courts itself, then further attestation is not required.

  1. ID Copies:

ID copies are required for you, your spouse and your kids. In the instance, the latest ID and residence visa copies are not available, at least the passport copy and the previous residence visa copy is to be submitted.

  1. Reason for Divorce:

If you are governed by the provisions of the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 on Personal Status, there are specific grounds for divorce that are recognized by the law, including physical violence, verbal abuse, mental harassment, adultery, desertion etc. You must submit all the supporting documents relating to applicable divorce grounds.

More often than not, the following supporting documents constitute crucial and valid evidence before the Court:

  • Medical reports showcasing physical harm,

  • Police complaints,

  • Communications showcasing any form of abuse etc.

Note that if physical violence occurs and should the spouse choose not to press criminal charges against the other spouse, it is still important to go to a government hospital and obtain a medical report.

On the other hand, if the provisions of the Federal Decree-Law No. 41 of 2022 apply to you and your spouse, you need not provide reason and proof thereby to justify the divorce. You can simply file for divorce in court and you will also be exempted from the otherwise mandatory mediation process.

  1. Try to Make Sure That You Have Witnesses to Support Your Claim:

Most divorce cases involve witnesses who testify before the Court and witness hearings can have the biggest impact on the outcome of a case.

As per the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005, there should be two male or one male and two female witnesses. If the party on whose behalf the witness is appearing is Muslim, the witnesses should also be Muslim. If the party is non-Muslim, then non-Muslim witnesses might be accepted by the Court, and there will be no difference between the testimony of male and female witnesses. 

Witnesses are asked to testify to the reasons for the conflict between the parties. To know more about who is accepted as witnesses and what about witness hearings before the Courts, please check the following link:

  1. Be Patient as The Process Takes Time:

Divorce matters are difficult and emotional for any person to go through. However, with the right legal advice, it would be easier to endure. It is important to have the right lawyer with a plethora of experience in family matters representing your interests. This will ensure that your interests are rightly looked after and that the processes involved are explained to you realistically so that you know what to expect. Contested divorce matters can often mean stretched-out proceedings, and therefore, it is important to take the best legal representation and keep your trust in the legal process.

  1. Make Sure That You Convey the Full Truth to Your Lawyer and That You Do Not Hide Any Facts:

Always remember that you and the lawyer are on the same team, and all information shared by you with your lawyer remains confidential and is protected under attorney-client privilege. Keeping the same in mind, do not pick and choose information and facts and always let your lawyer decide what is relevant and what is not.

It is important to always share all the information with your lawyer, both the good and the bad, and this will enable your lawyer to provide you with the right advice and to go ahead and win your case for you!

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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I have a marriage problem, we might go through divorce and I dont know what to do.
felin phan
We would be able to advise you on the process for obtaining a divorce in the UAE.

We would like to check some basic details in order to be able to advise you further. We invite you to schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers who can guide you further.

The above is the article checklist for divorce. We trust you will find this helpful.   Dr. Hassan Elhais

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