Category: Family Lawyers

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Dubai Family Lawyers | Sharia Law For Family | Marriage | Divorce

Family Law In The United Arab Emirates

Family Law in UAE is governed by Shariah Law which basically covers everything from marriage, divorce to succession. The commentary of these personal laws is based on the Imam Maliki school of thought. The relevant laws with respect to family law are Federal Law No 28 of 2005 also known as Personal Status Law, Federal Law No 5 of 1985 known as Civil Transaction Law and Federal Law No 11 of 1992 known as the Civil Procedure Code. The Sharia-based Personal Status Law applies to all including non-Emiratis, unless they choose their own home country’s law (Article 1, Personal Status Law). If a foreign national wishes to apply their country’s law they must provide the laws attested and translated into Arabic for use in the Courts. If a marriage is between two foreigners or between a foreigner or a national it will be valid if it was in accordance with the conditions of each State where it concluded. Law of the State of the husband upon the conclusion of the marriage shall govern personal and financial impacts set up by the contract of marriage. In matters of separation or divorce in the UAE it shall be governed by the law of the State of the husband. If marriage is between a national of the UAE and a foreigner, law of the UAE shall apply except for condition of capacity for marriage.

Is Co habitation legal in UAE?

Before 2021 co habitation was a crime in the UAE and would attract Penal code however after the recent amendment in Federal Decree No 31 of 2021 on the Issuance of Crime and Penalties Law it is not a crime anymore.

How is marriage under Shariah law solemnized?

Under the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 on Personal Status, marriage is considered to be a legal contract between a man and woman which aims to protect and form a steady family. Under the Shariah Law with respect to marriage there are two contracting parties: the husband and the tutor. The Tutor shall proceed with the marriage after taking the consent from the woman. The majority age for the parties is fixed at eighteen years, however if the spouse’s age is twice the other, the judge’s approval is sought.

Marriage contract needs to be registered in a Sharia court. A premarital screening certificate is needed. Islamic marriages are conducted by UAE Judicial departments and Sharia courts or through the services of authorized marriage officers (Mazoons) in each Emirate.

Contract is invalid in absence of a tutor. The offer and the acceptance must clearly have the word marriage and must be fulfilled immediately and shall not refer to a future time. Due to kinship a person is prohibited to marry his ascendant to highest degree, descendant to the remotest degree, first category of the descendants of one of the grandparents, descendants of the two parents or one of them to the remotest degree.

A marriage contract shall be valid only if there were two male male witnesses present of sound mind and full capacity and must be Muslim.

The husband must offer dowry in money or property for the purpose of marriage. There is no minimum limit fixed for dowry however maximum limit is fixed under Federal Law No. 21 of 1997 on Fixing the Dowry which says that Islamic Dowry may not exceed AED 20,000 and deferred dowry may not exceed 30,000 AED. It is the property of the bride so she can dispose of it. It may be whole or in part. It is by virtue of a valid contract and becomes certain by consummation of marriage.

Rights Of Wife Towards Husband

The wife has the rights of Alimony, non-obstruction to complete education, non-interference with the personal matters, non-infliction of bodily or moral prejudice to her, non-opposition to visit her ascendants, equitable treatment between other wives.

Rights Of Husband Towards His Wife

The husband has a right towards his wife that she must supervise the house. preserve the assets and a right of suckling of his children.

What is Interfaith marriage?

Interfaith marriage is when people of different faiths are united in matrimony. A Muslim man is permitted to marry a non-Muslim woman as long as she is “Ahl-e-Kitab” or “Of the Book” and follows the Abrahamic religion that is Christianity and Judaism. If the woman is not “of the book” she must revert to Islam for marriage. However, a non-Muslim man can’t marry a Muslim woman unless he embraces Islam.

What is Civil Marriage under Abu Dhabi Law?

According to Federal Law No 14 of 2021 on Personal Status for Non-Muslims Foreigners, a family court has been established for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi. As per the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, “Civil marriage is the lawful union of a non-Muslim man and woman and it is solemnized as a civil contract without religious ceremony”. This law allows the foreigners, non-Muslims, visitors and nationals of Abu Dhabi to conduct marriage. This Civil marriage no longer requires a religious ceremony or the approval of the guardian. A judge or the Notary approves the marriage and issues a digital certificate. The conditions necessary for this is that no party should be less than eighteen years of age, both the parties shall explicitly give their consent and both shall sign the declaration form.

The documents required for this purpose are:

  • Complete and signed marriage form.
  • Copy of passport or Emirates I.D.
  • If previously married, proof that marriage has been dissolved.
  • In case of death of spouse, copy of death certificate.
  • If divorced, a copy of divorce certificate.
  • If previous marriage was declared null, a copy of the court order.

Usually if the application is approved it takes around five working days to get the certificate and the fees for this application is 500 AED.

For the purpose of divorce, it is sufficient that one spouse declares before the court his willingness for separation and ending the marital relationship without the need to justify this application or demonstrate any damage or to blame the other party. After the divorce, the wife may submit an application to the court requesting alimony from the former husband. The Judge will decide financial support keeping in mind the following: years of marriage, age of wife, the economic status, the extent to which the husband contributes, whether or not to take care of children.

The custody of the children is joint and equal right for both parents upon divorce. If any one of them gives in writing to the court to waive the right to custody, the court will check the circumstances and decide accordingly.

Foreign testator has the right to leave a will to whomever he deems adequate. In case of absence of will, half of the inheritance shall be entitled to husband or wife and the other half shall be equally distributed among the children with no difference between males and females. In case of absence of children, it will go to the parents.

What about marriage of non-Muslims in UAE?

Non-Muslim wedding in UAE is recognized if they occur at places of worship such as churches, Hindu temples, or Sikh Gurdwara. Furthermore, non-Muslim interfaith weddings are typically conducted in the embassy or consulate of the bridegroom or the groom. Personal Status Court of Dubai performs marriages between people who are Muslim by faith.

What is the divorce procedure?

Divorce is the dissolution of marriage contract in a prescribed form. It can be verbal as well as in writing. However, verbal divorce must be proven in court through witnesses or by oath or by a court judgement. In UAE there is no such thing as Judicial Separation, the only separation is by court. The process for divorce starts when one party asserts their decision to part ways. Article 98 of the Personal Status Law says a conciliatory procedure is mandatory in divorce proceeding since the Quran promotes reconciliation through negotiation settlements between spouses. Thus, the Quran treats divorce as something permitted but not laudable. If both the parties agree and a settlement agreement is drafted, divorce is concluded amicably but if parties fail to reach to an agreement before the conciliator, then court proceedings can initiate. Foreign Law can’t be applied if it is contrary to public order, its effects can’t be determined, if the applicant claims to have dual nationality or whose nationality is not known. ( Article 27 and 28 of Civil Procedure Code)

Grounds of divorce

Under Shariah law divorce can be claimed on the grounds of physical and mental issues like impotency, vaginal occlusion, failure to pay dowry promptly, prejudice and dissension, non-maintenance, absence and loss, detention (Jail Term)


Where the husband swears not have sexual intercourse with his wife for a period of four months or more unless he goes back to his oath before such period, in such case divorce is irrevocable.


Where the husband compares his wife’s body to that of another woman who is forbidden to marry (example mother or sister)

Article 110 to 135 of Personal Status law talks about divorce. A woman can apply for divorce but she must demonstrate that she has been harmed. Harm in this context would mean husband’s failure to maintain his wife, home and children or if he is violent. The recent amendments gives the court right to reject such application for divorce which means the right of woman to seek divorce has been restricted.

As for a man the position is different. He need not any ground or consent of his wife to divorce but scholars say that there should be a reasonable ground for such a decision.

The court can nullify a marriage contract if it conflicts with the Shariah Law or public policy. It may be nullified in the following cases:

If marriage takes place in absence of wife’s guardian (Art 39 of Personal Status Law) or if a woman is provisionally or permanently prohibited to the man. In such cases if the Court nullifies the marriage contract, the parties return to their previous status. However, if the court so wishes it can correct the nullity at its own discretion.

What are the types of Divorce in Shariah Law?

Under Shariah Law divorce is known as Talaq -e- Hasan as mentioned under Surah Talaq of the Quran and approved by all schools of Muslim law. If a husband pronounces divorce to his wife and takes her back within three months (Iddat period) marriage remains intact. Also, resumption of sexual relations automatically retracts the divorce. If he pronounces divorce to his wife second time he can still revoke the divorce and take her back during the waiting period. However, if the husband pronounces the divorce third time, the divorce becomes final and irrevocable.

Maintenance (Nafaqa)

Before the divorce is finalized a judge orders maintenance on a temporary basis. Usually, the courts order minimal maintenance for wife and children. However, on the request of the wife, the judge can use his discretionary power and order greater amount. Generally the courts award up to 30% of the fathers income. Child support includes food, education, extra-curricular activities, medical expenses. The objective of this child care is to minimize the disruption in the child’s life. A father must support his children and provide a standard of living similar to what he experienced during the marriage.

Who gets the custody of children?

Child Custody under the Islamic Law indicates that parents do not share equal parental responsibility for their children but provides for different role of father and the mother. The mother has a role of a custodian (Hadana) who takes care of the child, responsible for day to day needs as well as physical aspect of the child. The father on the other side has a role of the guardian or the wilaya. Guardians are considered providers of the financial and substantial needs of the child. Incase of termination of marriage, when deciding on custody the concern of the judge is the best interests of the child. This is as per Article 144-145 of the Personal Status Law. Article 155 says that the judge should choose the most suitable custodian for the child. And custody awarded to a woman ends when a male child reaches 11 years of age and female child 13 years of age and goes to the father since he is financially responsible for his children. If a father does not request custody of the child within six months after the child has reached legal age (11 for boy and 13 for girl) he waives his right.

What are the Visitation rights?

According to Article 154 of the Personal Status Law, only parents have visitation rights. However in case a parent is deceased or absent, visitation rights will be given to first line relatives. Also access to the children for the non-custodian parent is guaranteed under the Personal States Law. The mother cannot relocate the child if it causes hardships to the father for visiting the child, hence the visitation rights of the father are protected.

To conclude UAE has emerged as the most tolerant State in the past few years welcoming people of different faiths and nationalities without any bias and gives many options to the expatriates for marriage based on their religion and nationality.

For further questions and in-depth discussion about your legal needs, please feel free to Contact Us at your most convenient time.








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Child Custody In UAE

What Not to Do In A Child Custody Dispute

The physical custody and legal placement of children will be decided by local Sharia courts if you are currently requesting a divorce in the United Arab Emirates and you have children. There are two main crucial legal choices that must be made in child custody disputes in the UAE. While physical placement will define how parents divide time with their children, legal custody will decide who makes the majority of decisions for the kids. Children of UAE citizens who are present in the nation may spend some time with you as their parent.

In a divorce case, a court will consider a number of factors for UAE nationals and residents alike. In addition to making sure Sharia law is followed when suitable, a judge will make decisions based on what is best for the children. Here are the main things to stay away from in order to convince a judge that you deserve physical placement and child custody in the UAE:

Avoid Any Physical Altercation

When it comes to the kids and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, this is especially true. In addition to losing the kids’ placement and custody in the UAE, physical altercations can lead to criminal accusations for child abuse or physical assault. This would most certainly lead to an injunction. As much as you can, try to stay out of verbal fights with both of your families. You won’t be able to share custody and raise kids together if a judge has issued you a restraining order.

Never misuse your spouse’s belongings

What you want to do is prevent hurting any of your spouse’s property as you lose your temper, just like when you fight or argue. This includes his or her residence, vehicle, and other property. Additionally, even if you have previously paid in full for joint property, take care not to harm it. Your ex-spouse or soon-to-be ex-partner will be regarded as a co-owner of anything you bought while you were married. This means that until legal proceedings are over, you shouldn’t harm, sell, or destroy anything.

Don’t be critical of your spouse

Anything you say when discussing your case with your divorce lawyer in Dubai, UAE, as well as with your family and friends, could be used against you in court. There is always a possibility for something to leak out, even when the other person did not intend to repeat what you said. It’s also likely that the people you’ve spoken to—like family members, friends, and other close associates—will be asked to provide an oath-recorded testimony or deposition. While engaged in a child custody dispute, it is preferable to keep your own negative sentiments to yourself. Never publish criticism online either. Always anticipate that anything you say, do, or post online or on social media will be seen by everyone. Without a doubt, the information could be used against you.

Avoid separating children from their normal routine

The effects of divorce are extremely damaging to children. They were forced to abruptly change their routine after becoming accustomed to doing so. Even when you don’t feel like it, try your best to maintain their routine as normal. Do your best to keep them informed about their schoolwork and any extracurricular activities or sports they may love. Although there is a chance that this won’t work, you should still give it a shot. Additionally, if the other parent does not provide approval, it is crucial that you refrain from scheduling anything while the children are with them. While maintaining as much normalcy as you can, be careful to avoid creating problems or taking actions that will hinder your ability to co-parent successfully.

Keep your new partner away from the children

You could believe you should start dating again after you’ve acquired a divorce in the UAE with the guidance of a qualified divorce lawyer in Dubai. Another reason why your marriage may have ended is because you or your ex-spouse found someone else. Keep the kids away from the person you are dating while your divorce is underway and even after it has been finalized. The kids will find it to be very perplexing. When your ex or your children don’t like your new partner, it can also lead to additional tension. Additionally, keep in mind that adultery is a serious crime in the UAE and can significantly harm your hopes of obtaining custody of your children.

Please feel free Contact Us if you need assistance regarding this legal matter.





Divorce Process in UAE for Muslim Couples

The Legal Process of Divorce in UAE for Muslim Couples

Islamic marriages are governed by the Sharia law so as the legal dissolution of marriage. Despite the troublesome and complicated process of terminating marriage, Divorce in UAE for Muslim couples rates continuously increases, and marriage qualities have significantly changed.

Commencement of divorce in UAE entails certain requirements to be met such as: the couple must be resident of UAE for at least six months prior to the filing for divorce. In addition, it is important to note that filing divorce must be supported with legal grounds such as, but not limited to; Mental incapacity, Disability, Adultery, Abuse, Desertion and other legal grounds permissible under Sharia law.

Under Sharia law, there are two types of divorce – revocable and irrevocable. In revocable divorce, the marriage remains valid within the waiting period of three months. After this period, should the parties reconcile, they can do so by entering into a new marriage contract. On the other hand, irrecoverable divorce terminates the marriage as soon as the decree issued.

Brief summary of filing divorce process in United Arab Emirates for Muslim couples are as follows:

  • Divorce proceeding can be filed by the husband or by the wife. The initial step requires the case to be registered at the Family Guidance Section at the respective judicial department in one of the emirates.
  • Thereafter, the court will then appoint conciliator who will initiate a reconciliation proceeding between the parties. This is an indispensable process under UAE law. During this proceeding, divorcing parties will be entitled to address their concerns about the marriage. This can be done even in the absence of their respective legal representatives.
  • If amicable settlement fails and one of the parties or both are determined to dissolve their marriage, then the conciliator will issue a referral letter granting them permission to elevate the matter before the court and determine the conclusion of the divorce case.
  • Once the referral letter is issued, this letter can be submitted before the court within three months from the date of issuance.
  • Once the court obtains jurisdiction over the divorce case and subject to the court’s discretion, divorcing parties will be directed to provide their corresponding evidence to support their respective claims and lay down their own defense.

In addition, UAE government issued recent amendment towards divorce cases by virtue of Federal Law Number 8 of 2019 amending Federal. The following are the most significant amendments encompassing divorce proceedings and case determination:

  1. Under the new law, if the wife filed the divorce under grounds of adultery and she fails to prove the accusations, the case can be dismissed right away and no appeal will be permitted
  2. Under Article 118(2) of the new Law an order must be issued within 90 days from the date of appointment of conciliator. However, if conciliator fails to reconcile the parties, settlement proposal must be recommended to the court, and copy must be provided to the divorcing parties.
  3. Under Article 120 of the new law, if the parties fail to reconcile, the following will be considered:
    1. if it is proven to be the husband’s fault, the wife can seek divorce and other financial rights.
    2. if it is proven to be the wife’s fault, it can be dealt with in the following two ways: (i) divorce will be granted divorce upon paying a certain amount of compensation; or, (ii) unless husband request to maintain the marriage, the court, subject to the court’s discretion to preserving the marriage, can reject the divorce.
  • Under Article 120(4) of the new Law, if the conciliator fails to reconcile both parties due to mutual mistake of both parties, conciliator can order either party to pay compensation on pro-rata basis to the other one who is less guilty or get the divorce without any compensation. However, under Article 120 (5) of the new law, if the parties cannot reconcile and the reason behind filing for divorce is unknown or cannot be located, there can be two options: (i) If the husband is the applicant for divorce, the conciliator can recommend dismissing the case; (ii) Whereas, if the case has been registered by the wife, the conciliator will choose whether to issue an order for divorce with a lump sum amount or to dismiss the case in the interest of preserving the family.

When arranging a divorce, seek the advice of our team having a specialist divorce lawyers in Dubai (with knowledge of local Sharia law). We are ready and willing to handle your legal matter

child abduction case dubai uae

Child Abduction by Parents in UAE

Why Child Abduction Are Mostly Done By Parents Themselves

There are increasing numbers of child abduction cases in UAE due to broken marriages where it is common for divorced or separated parents to contend for child custody.  Our family lawyers would be able to assist on these matters.

For abduction cases where the father is a Muslim and mother is a non-Muslim importance will be given to the Muslim father because UAE is an Islamic state whereas in case of both being non-Muslim and non-nationals then laws of their land will be given preference. In case there is a UAE resident involved then local courts will favors the resident by applying local laws thus making the foreign laws non-applicable.

UAE is very strict when it comes to child abduction making it impossible for the abducted child in UAE to return.

To return abducted children to their country of residence or to the uniform child custody jurisdiction and enforcement act, for which the UAE is not a part of 1980 Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

For the welfare of children, UAE follows its own federal laws even though they have bilateral ties with other countries.

These child abduction cases are viewed as enforcing child custody whereas serious abduction cases are to be dealt with by family lawyers as criminal cases. For the return of the abducted child to the parent, one must make an application through the UAE courts.

child protection law in dubai

Child Protection Law Against Child Abuse In The UAE

Child Protection in Dubai | Children Protection Law in UAE

New laws were introduced to the UAE in June 2016 relating to child abuse and protection of children’s rights. For the first time, individuals responsible for the care of a child were made accountable for their actions and the safety of the children under their care.

The law is often referred to as Wadeema’s Law in memory of the late young Emirati girl who died as a result of the type of abuse the legislation was put in place to prevent.

Two child protection centers have been set up in Dubai whereas in Abu Dhabi, social workers are made available at the child affairs prosecution service to assist in cases related to children. They have the authority to remove a child if their life is in danger.

There is a hotline number to call to report incidents involving possible abuse of a child. You can call 116111 to register a complaint or concern of this matter.

If a parent reports child abuse, they will be connected to a lawyer for free advice whereas, if a child reports a case, it is considered a criminal offense and action will be taken against those taking care of the child. The punishment for abusing or mistreating a child may vary from financial measures such as a fine or possibly jail.

As a general guide, the penalty for serious offences relating to child abuse can typically be a fine of Dh. 50,000 and 10 years in jail.

Local officials are already trying to persuade schools to hire specialist child psychologists and hospitals are being urged to implement a suitable reporting structure. This will help doctors and teachers recognize the signs of child abuse which many children suffer in silence and assist them in knowing the correct actions to follow.

adoption law in dubai

Laws of Adoption in UAE

Adoption Law in UAE | Family Lawyers

There are a growing number of cases where adoption is authorized in the UAE. Entering a sexual relationship outside of marriage used to be a crime in the UAE and offenders may face criminal charges. Sadly, in some instances, children born from such relationships are sometimes abandoned to avoid these circumstances but the law makes allowances for these children to be taken care of.

Under Islamic Law, it is forbidden to adopt a child because it interferes with ancestry but it allows that an abandoned child can benefit from the love and care of a family. In such circumstances, a court order is required to give that child the family name of the adopting parents.

Assistance on Legal Process on how to adopt child in UAE

UAE nationals are not permitted to adopt but expats may do so if the law of their home country gives them permission to do so. The option allows expats residing in UAE to adopt children from countries other than UAE provided they follow all the rules and regulations governing the process.

The UAE law is structured to support an abandoned child and may even give UAE citizenship and a passport in some cases, according to Article 2(e) of the Federal Law (1975).  Our expert family lawyers are happy to assist with the process of legally adopting a child into your home.

For Free Legal Consultation, Call Us Today!

divorce law in dubai

After Effects of Divorce in UAE

After Effects of Divorce in UAE – Hire Divorce Lawyer in Dubai

There is no escape from the after effects of a divorce in UAE. The rules and laws for divorce in your home country can apply here in the UAE according to Article 1 of ‘UAE Personal Status Law’ (commonly known as ‘Shariah Law’).

As an expat you may be unclear of many areas of the law, particularly in relation to divorce and court proceeding in the UAE. There may also be complications relating to claiming legal rights for the husband, the wife and the children.

As a Muslim man you can divorce your wife by saying ‘I divorce you’ three times and you will be separated according to the UAE law. However, women cannot do the same. There are provisions to allow a Muslim woman to divorce her husband for incidences such as domestic violence or inability or failure to provide financial support. Another method for a woman to divorce from her husband is Khula. It should be remembered however that if following this path, she will lose the dowry (the money to be paid by her husband for releasing her from the marriage).

How to file for divorce proceedings? This will depend on the specific details of the case. If, for example, a woman is earning money to support the family and has family assets in her name, Dubai court could be the most beneficial place to file if the intention is not to pay money to her husband. This path would also help in ensuring she retains custody of the children and she keep all her assets in her name.

UK courts can be more beneficial if a husband was earning to support the family, you have joint assets and if you need to consider pension earnings now or in the future.

In reality, there isn’t one solution that applies to all cases and it is imperative that you seek professional guidance that is tailored for your specific circumstances.

For Free Legal Consultation, Call Us Today!