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Divorce proceedings under executive regulation of law no. 14 of 2021 concerning personal status law in Abu Dhabi

Following the enactment of Abu Dhabi’s new non-Muslim Personal Status Court last year, non-Muslims in the UAE now have the opportunity to wed in a civil ceremony. According to Law No. 14 of 2021 on Non-Muslims’ Personal Status in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the specialized family court for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi handles personal status issues such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody.

This rule, which applies to both non-Muslim expatriates and non-Muslim residents of Abu Dhabi, represents a significant shift in how the Abu Dhabi-based Emirates of Abu Dhabi treats family law issues. This article will discuss about the divorce proceedings to be followed before the Personal Status Court in Abu Dhabi in accordance with the Executive Regulation of Law No. 14 of 2021 on Non-Muslims’ Personal Status in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Main divorce provision under personal law of Abu Dhabi

A divorce occurs when both couples choose to end their marriage, either unilaterally or mutually. For a divorce between two non-Muslim foreigners, one spouse must formally proclaim their intention to separate from the other and dissolve their marriage before the Court; there is no need to provide evidence of harm or blame the other spouse. When a party indicates their readiness to divorce, the divorce becomes final.

What is Civil Divorce under the New Personal Status Law in Abu Dhabi?

It was deemed civil if the couples were divorced, following rules and regulations without reference to any special religious law.

Divorce Procedure under the Personal Status Law: Article (7)

  1. Using the Form created by the Court for this purpose, either spouse may petition for divorce without having to provide evidence of any damage. A court order declaring Divorce to be final must be given to the other party before it takes effect.
  2. Divorce shall be finalized in the first session following the lawsuit filing with the Court, without the necessity to send the matter to family guidance.
  3. Without affecting the rules outlined in the Civil Procedures Law, the Chairman or his delegate must issue a resolution on the registration requirements and application fees detailed in this article.

Concept of No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce is when the spouse seeking the divorce does not need to establish any fault on the other spouse’s side. Under the New Civil Marriage Law, a spouse may request a divorce from the courts based on a no-fault application under the new law. The partner must desire to dissolve the marriage without proving any harm or placing the blame on the other.

You may want to know: New Law on Divorce and Civil Marriage for Non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi

Equal Treatment of the Husband and Wife When Filing for Civil Divorce:

Article 11 of Executive Regulation concerning personal Status Law in Abu Dhabi provides that the woman and the husband have equal rights and obligations, and either spouse is free to ask for a court order to separate from the other without prejudice to their rights to divorce.

First Hearing for Civil Divorce:

Article 12 of Executive Regulation concerning personal Status Law in Abu Dhabi states that it is sufficient for one of the spouses to express their desire to separate and not continue the marriage before the Court during the initial court appearance for the divorce decree to be issued. There is no need to justify this request, assign blame to the other spouse, or establish fault on the other spouse’s part.

You should read: Are you an expat and looking for a divorce in the UAE? Things you must know

Application for a Civil Divorce: Procedure to be followed 

Article 13 of the Executive Regulation concerning personal Status Law in Abu Dhabi provides for the following stages below for a civil divorce to be filed before the Court:

  1. The Divorce applicant must fill out the English-Arabic Bilingual Form and attach a docket of supporting papers.
  2. The Applicant is required to pay the 5,000 dirhams (or equivalent) required charge.
  3. The application and any supporting documents are reviewed by the Court to ensure that it satisfies all requirements, particularly the one regarding the department’s jurisdiction to effect the Divorce.

It is always advisable to consult family and Divorce lawyers before filing any Divorce application.

You need to know: Inheritance rule applicable to the non-Muslim expats in UAE

Divorce Application Approved by the Court:

Article 14 of Executive Regulation concerning personal Status Law in Abu Dhabi states the following process to be followed after the divorce application is approved by the Court:

  1. The first hearing is to take place after 30 days from the date of filing the application

If the divorce application is granted, a date is fixed for the first hearing to issue the divorce decree, with the hearing being set at least thirty (30) days after the request was granted.

  1. Inform the spouses of the Hearing Date

One legally required means of notification should be to inform the spouses of the hearing date.

iii.  Case Preparation Requirements

  • The day after the case is registered, the case preparation official reads the claim statement and attachments and looks into jurisdictional questions using the preparation form created for that purpose. The preparation officer must report urgent demands to the judge the day after the case file’s registration.
  • The defendant must file a defense memo form detailing his jurisdictional defenses no later than ten working days before the date of the hearing set to grant the Divorce.
  • At least two working days before the hearing date, the case preparation official prepares the case file, completes the bilingual preparation form, and presents it to the Court.
  1. Court decision on Divorce

On the hearing day, the judge shall give a divorce decision following the Form attached to this decision, after ensuring that the applicant attended the hearing and verifying his adherence to the Divorce.

How may HHS Lawyers and Legal Consultants assist you?

Our family and Divorce lawyers have years of expertise with all problems associated with divorce, separation, dividing assets, property disputes, and child custody. We have a lot of knowledge in several UAE jurisdictions. We take it upon ourselves to establish and maintain reasonable expectations. We provide inexpensive and flexible pricing for all of our Family Law services.

For more information about the Subject, please don’t hesitate to contact our Family and Divorce Lawyers.

Hazim Darwish

Hazim Darwish, is a Senior Partner of HHS Lawyers in UAE. Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on legal drafting, contract drafting, labor disputes, family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Hazim Darwish also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators.