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November 23, 2022|
Latest Update: The UAE has Issued a Civil Personal Status Law for non-Muslims at the Federal Level. The New Federal Law comes after the effective application of a non-Muslims Personal Status Law existing in Abu Dhabi.
This New Federal Law has introduced changes in personal status matters for non-Muslims in matters related to family guidance mediation, rights between the parties in relation to testimony, inheritance, divorce, custody. The New Federal Law has introduced civil marriage at a federal level, and provided equal rights to parties in requesting for divorce. The New Federal Law covers matters related to alimony, custody, inheritance, and parentage.
Application of the New Federal non-Muslims Personal Status Law
The Law shall be applied in the following situations –
The provisions of this Law shall be effective from 1st February 2023.
No mandatory mediation in family matter prior to commencement of the court case
The Divorce cases shall be excluded from being considered by family guidance committees, and shall be directly referred to the Court to issue a judgment in this regard from the first session.
The new amendment in the Abu Dhabi family law offers equality to men and women in their following rights and obligations:
Witness testimony: an expat woman testimony shall be similar to an expat man’s testimony.
Estate: estate shall be distributed equally between men and women without regard to gender, religion or nationality.
Right to Divorce: equal rights to both spouses to ask for divorce unilaterally.
Joint Custody: men and women shall have equal right of custody of children until the age of 16 and subsequently the child shall have the freedom of choice.
Recognition of Civil Marriage
The New Federal Law recognizes the concept of civil marriage and provides the following regulations –
The marriage procedures may be concluded by an officer of the court, by submitting an appropriate form required by the court. Parties may include their rights during the marriage, and after divorce.
No Fault Divorce
If the law was applied, the divorce could be given to any of the parties on the basis of a no-fault divorce in the first court hearing where none of the parties may be required to provide any reason for the divorce.
Factors for Quantification of the Alimony Amount
Based on the divorce, the court has the right to evaluate the alimony amount, which has to be paid to a divorced woman. The law has specified several different factors to evaluate this amount, for example –
The wife’s alimony shall be forfeited in case she remarries, or the custody is dropped for any reason. Moreover, the wife may submit a request to increase the alimony after one year should the circumstances change.
Introducing the Concept of Joint Custody
According to the New Federal Law the custody shall be joint for the children until they are 18 years old. Subsequently, they will have the right to choose. Either of the parent may request to remove the other parent who has subject the child to an inappropriate environment, and other situations, which will be provided exhaustively in the implementing executive regulations.
In the event of disagreement between the parents, they may approach the court to make a decision in relation to custody matters. Child’s best interest remain the governing rule in custody disputes.
No Concept of Forced Heirship
A person subject to the New Federal Law has testamentary freedom subject to the rules of the implementing executive regulations. If a person dies intestate, half of the inheritance shall go to the surviving spouse, and the remaining shall be distributed equally between the children without any difference between a girl or a boy. The New Federal Law provides details of distribution in various other scenarios as well when the surviving heirs are other than children and spouse.
The child’s parentage shall be proven by marriage or by the approval from father and mother, and the birth certificate shall be issued as per the laws in force. The court may order a DNA test to be carried out, and it should not issue its order by proving the lineage of the person who claims it, except after verifying the following:
The New Federal Law also provides that a new decision may be issued regulating adoption and surrogacy family.
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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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