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February 25, 2016|
90% of the cases will involve witnesses and they can have the biggest impact on the outcome of the case, hence reading the article will provide valuable information to ensure a strong claim. We will explain who are accepted as witnesses and what their impact could mean for the outcome.
Witnesses are also accepted by the court as valid contributors of evidence. The witnesses testify to the reasons for the conflict between the parties. The witnesses can give as much of a detailed account of the relationship between the husband and wife as possible. This could include any instances of physical harm or abuse, verbal abuse, disrespect, the parenting skills of either party and any account of expenses being paid or not paid by one party to the other. The parenting skills testimony is required by the court to evaluate the best interest of the child while addressing the question of custody.
It is not recommended that the witnesses seek any guidance or meeting with the representative lawyer of the party. This is so that the court can get a clear and impartial picture of the statement of the witness without any external pressure. The witnesses are required to take their Emirates ID or passport along and should be 21 years of age. They are required to take an oath on their holy book before their statements. Legal Translators can be arranged by the court since the proceedings of the Family Court are in Arabic only. English to Arabic legal translators is often available on the spot, however, other languages might need to inform the court the same day of their need for a legal translator.
It is also recommended that 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. There should be 2 male, or 1 male and 2 female witnesses. The female witnesses shall be heard together while the male witnesses shall be heard alone. Additionally, there is no audience in the Family Court so the entire procedure is very private and confidential.
Family members can be witnesses as well, however, parents of the parties cannot. This rule goes back to the impartiality of witnesses since it is unlikely that parents can be impartial witnesses in their children's matters.
It is also important that the witnesses do not have any direct conflict with either of the parties and can give a clear and precise account of the parties' family life. This means that the witness should be able to give locations and dates of certain events, give clear and precise facts and the source of the fact(s) and the reasons behind their inferences.
Procedure-wise, the witnesses of the claimant are heard first, followed by the witnesses of the respondent. This can be done in the same hearing or they can ask to postpone the hearing to another day. This also depends on the number of witnesses presented by the party. The process does allow for the witnesses to be cross-examined; however, the cross-examination is done by the judge only who accepts the questions from either party or their lawyer and may choose to put the question to the witness or not.
In the Family Court, witnesses often play a crucial and decisive part in the proceedings. In many cases, the testimony of witnesses can lead the way to one party's success or failure in the case and his/her claims made therein. In certain cases, the judge may decide to give more weight to the testimony of the witnesses rather than documentary proof, if he deems it fit for the delivery of justice. Hence, it is fair to say that witnesses are the key to success in the Family Court.
The introduction of a new personal status law for the non-Muslims effective February 2023, the Federal Decree-Law No. 41 of 2022 on Civil Personal Status, brings with itself numerous changes in terms of marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance etc. Following the issuance of the Abu Dhabi Personal Status Law for non-Muslim Foreigners in 2021, the federal government came out with a Personal Status Law that would apply to the entire non-Muslim population of the UAE, whether citizens or expatriates.
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 concerning testimony, inheritance, divorce, calculation of time-based on the Gregorian calendar, and joint custody of children. The New Federal Law has introduced civil marriage at a federal level and provided equal rights to parties in requesting the divorce. The New Federal Law covers matters related to alimony, custody, inheritance, and parentage and shall be applied between non-Muslim expatriate residents in case none of them wanted to apply his/her home country's law in the UAE. In case the parties are non-Muslims, then there will be equality in testimony before the court, which means that the testimony of a woman before the court shall be as valid as the testimony of a man without any difference. Whereas for Muslims the judge still needs to decide on divorce based on the grounds for divorce raised by either of the party, however under the new law for non-Muslims, the spouses need not provide a reason for initiating the divorce, or blame the other party for its cause. To know more information about this law, please feel free to click this link.
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