Simply stated, in legal terms, a divorce is the lawful termination of a marriage contract by a country’s court when one or both parties file for divorce.
In the UAE, under Sharia Law, the two types of divorce are revocable and irrevocable.
Under the revocable divorce, the husband is allowed to cancel the divorce at any point until the end of the waiting period or as known as the three-month Iddat. If the couple wishes to restore their marriage after this period, it must be done by getting married.
On the other hand, under the irrevocable divorce, the marriage is ended as soon as it has happened.
5 Most Common Reasons For Divorce in UAE
In a study conducted in 2016 by Zayed University, UAE University, and Al Khwarizmi International College, one of the biggest factors for divorce is interference of family members, financial issues, and lack of communication.
Between 2016 and 2017, the divorce cases are mainly about money-related matters that includes claims for alimony, demands regarding getting their dowry back and other expenses, accommodation allowance, money to hire a maid or nanny, etc.
There are a couple of reasons why couples end their marriage. Some of them are listed below:
It believed that one of the leading causes of divorce in the UAE is extramarital relationships. Some people feel that they have anonymity for the reason that most people have a lot of factors that are holding them back to bring their families in the UAE, giving them some sort of freedom when it comes to not having anyone in the country to reprimand them. Both men and women are accountable for this kind of issue.
2. Lack of communication
For many, when there is a lack of communication, it is difficult to make things work inside a marriage. Based on a study by the UAE Marriage Fund, poor communication ranks up among Emiratis ahead of lack of love, infidelity, or physical violence.
3. Loss of job
It is arduous for a family when the head of the house loses a job. In the UAE, however, it has a huge impact since being employed is a survival that is linked to residence visa. This could lead to one of the couple leaving the country or both of them suffering from money-related issues.
4. Religious and cultural differences
It is common among different nationalities in the country to marry regardless of the religious differences. Since people are brought up differently with different beliefs, cultures, principles, and other things that make up who they are, more often than not, these factors cause a breakup between couples since those can clash turning into a huge argument.
5. Lack of support system
Moving out of your homeland and relocating somewhere else especially with children is not an easy thing to do by anyone. It is such a life-changing decision that one can only stick to once it’s already happened. When there is only one person, the partner, who is the support system of the other, it can be a problem since the other would normally start to expect the only support system to be a husband/wife, best friend, mother, father, etc., and it often creates unrealistic expectations. Inevitably, it leads to disappointment when the support system cannot accomplish what the other is expecting and, therefore, leads to a heartbreak.
How to File a Divorce in the UAE
If both parties or one of them has decided to end their marriage, a registration for divorce should be done at the Family Guidance Section of the judicial department in any Emirates. The Courts will appoint a conciliator to try to talk the two parties into restoring their relationship. This kind of process is mandatory, and both parties are permitted in voicing their issues or concerns with regard to their marriage even in the absence of their legal representatives.
At this stage, amicable divorce can be done and closed. With the agreed terms set in place, both parties should draft a settlement and sign it in front of the conciliator.
If there are no terms agreed by both parties, and one or both of them would like to go for the divorce, the conciliator will give a referral letter that permits them to proceed to the court for the conclusion of their divorce.
Within three months from the date of issue, the aforementioned letter can be submitted to the court for processing. The parties involved in the divorce are under the court’s discretion and are required to provide evidence to support their claims against each other and to defend themselves as well.
UAE Laws and Regulations That Govern Divorce For Muslim & Non-Muslim Residents
UAE expats in the country who have been married outside have a choice when it comes to what laws and regulations will govern their divorce.
A. Divorce laws for Muslim couples
Shariah Law governs Islamic marriages. If both parties are Muslims and residents of the UAE, Sharia/UAE Law is expected to be applied when divorce is processed. In cases when the husband is a Muslim and the woman is a non-Muslim, it is likely that Sharia/UAE Law will be applied as well.
B. Divorce laws for non-Muslim couples
Non-Muslim expatriate residents are permitted to file for divorce in their home country or apply for divorce in the UAE.
If the parties decide to have their divorce processed in the UAE, they can petition the court which law should apply. According to Article 1 of the Federal Law No 28 of 2005 or known as Law of Personal Affairs “The provisions of this Law shall apply to citizens of the United Arab Emirates State unless non-Muslims among them have special provisions applicable to their community or confession. They shall equally apply to non-citizens unless one of them asks for the application of his law.”
Simply stated, the parties may inquire for the application of their own laws to their personal status matters.
Divorce is a complex matter that needs to be thought over before going ahead to filing for one in a judicial department. There are also legal matters that need to be dealt with when the processing is ongoing. Therefore, legal advice is needed.