Law on Family Matters for Expatriates living in the UAE: Part IV
Posted by Dr. Hassan Elhais on June 15th, 2022
We have discussed personal status laws applicable to the UAE in the previous articles.
We now shift our focus to the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, which recently introduced a new law, called the Abu Dhabi Law No. 14 of 2021 (Abu Dhabi non-Muslim Personal Status Law) and executive regulations under it. This law is applicable to non-Muslim foreigners and non-Muslim locals in Abu Dhabi and marks a distinct change in approach towards family law matters in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi.
What is the new law?
Abu Dhabi non-Muslim Personal Status Law applies only in Abu Dhabi. While the key changes related to no-fault divorce, joint custody and financial rights of the wife will be discussed in detail later, some other notable changes brought by this new law are as follows.
When can the courts apply this law?
Given the exceptional bouquet of rights provided by the Abu Dhabi non-Muslim Personal Status Law to non-Muslims, it is important to understand when the Abu Dhabi courts will exercise jurisdiction.
Abu Dhabi courts will have jurisdiction if both expats are residents, or have their current or former place of work in Abu Dhabi.
Courts will also have jurisdiction even if the defendant is a foreigner with no residence in Abu Dhabi but:
If, based on the above factors, the courts in Abu Dhabi decide to exercise jurisdiction, it may apply the Abu Dhabi non-Muslim Personal Status Law in the following circumstances:
One of the key changes introduced by the new law is the changes in divorce proceedings.
Under the new law, a spouse can apply to the courts for a divorce based on a no-fault application. The spouse only has to show willingness for ending the marital relationship, without showcasing any damage or blaming the other party. The courts will decide this application in the first hearing itself. That said, the first hearing will take place after 30 days from the date of application, in order to give parties time for potential reconciliation.
What are the new rules on custody of children? What financial rights does a wife get under the new law? We will explore these questions in the next and final part of this series.
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About the AuthorDr. Hassan Elhais
Joined: December 20th, 2020
Articles Posted: 319
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