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Grounds for divorce in the UAE: what you need to know

Divorce in the UAE is often the final option for many in unhappy or abusive marriages. But many expatriates are still unsure of how procedure of divorce in the UAE operate in the UAE, with concerns ranging from which courts have jurisdiction to what constitutes suitable grounds for divorce and—possibly most crucially—how child custody is decided. Islamic sharia law and its customs are the foundation for personal status law.

According to the most recent revision, the law of the nation where the marriage was solemnized would be the foreign law applicable in such cases. Expats in the UAE are also permitted to utilize foreign law in UAE courts as a result of this change. The UAE Civil Code’s rules must also be followed for foreign laws to be applied, and generally, their applicability is limited to a wide range of underlying circumstances.

This article concentrates on the divorce procedure and the United Arab Emirates legal system to make things simpler for foreigners. Sharia Law is the primary divorce law in the United Arab Emirates.

Read more – How to get Child Custody after Divorce in the UAE

Divorce in the UAE: Stages to be followed

The Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 governing personal affairs in the United Arab Emirates mentions divorce and the settlement that follows it.

  1. Conciliation

Conciliation is the first phase of the divorce process. At this point, the couple will attempt to resolve their issues or, at the very least, agree. You will have to provide your marriage license and contracts, birth certificates for any children you may have, and both spouses’ passports. Furthermore, every document has to be translated into Arabic. This period is only allowed to last three months by legislation. There are two options for what comes next.

  1. First Instance Court
  • If the parties cannot settle, the First Instance Court will hear the matter.
  • Following filing, the defense will respond, and the starting party will respond in turn. This procedure will continue until the court has reached a ruling. Although it is not required, any party may opt to have legal counsel represent them.
  • Additionally, proceedings are heard in Arabic, although the court provides a translator.
  1. Court of Appeal

Either side has 28 days to appeal a decision once it is made. Except that three judges rule over the case, the Appeals Court’s procedure is identical to that of the First Instance Court.

  1. Court of Cassation

The matter will be transferred to the Court of Cessation after reaching the final decision. To guarantee due process, the court will examine every document related to the case. At this point, you won’t be able to provide any new proof.

  1. Enforcement Court

The Enforcement Court will finally hear the matter. In this instance, the judge enforces the decision and ensures that everyone involved abides by it and any agreements made. If the parties settle during the conciliation phase, the case will bypass the judicial system and proceed to the Enforcement Courts.

Things you must know – Are you an expat and looking for a divorce in the UAE? 

Divorce in the UAE: Legal grounds

There are a lot of considerations to make before divorcing in the United Arab Emirates. The couple’s reasons for separating are perhaps the most critical factors. You must first satisfy several requirements before moving on. Furthermore, irrespective of race or creed, anybody may apply for a divorce. In the United Arab Emirates, if the parties cannot reach an agreement, the courts must handle the divorce procedure. The party who files for divorce in a contentious divorce must justify their request as well as supporting documentation.

 Top legal grounds for divorce in United Arab Emirates detailed explanation:

  1. Adultery

It is a frequent reason for divorce worldwide, particularly in the United Arab Emirates. It happens when one spouse engages in sexual activity while the couple is still married. You’ll need to depend on more than just suppositions and circumstantial evidence to establish adultery. It could be necessary to have a witness narrative, images, or phone records.

  1. Desertion

When one spouse leaves the marriage union against the will of the other, the circumstance is referred to as “desertion.” A particular length of time must have passed after the couple’s separation for a divorce to be granted. This time frame typically lasts one to two years.

  1. Abuse

Whether the abuse in a marriage is physical or mental, both are grounds for divorce. To substantiate their claims of maltreatment, the petitioner must provide medical records. Additionally, there must be two male witnesses who can support the assertions. Claimants as partial witnesses may only present female witnesses.

  1. Bodily defects

The spouse may request the annulment of the marriage if one of the parties has leprosy, vaginal canal obstruction, or insanity before or during the marriage. However, if the spouse were aware of this defect before marriage, he/she would forfeit the right to rescind.

  1. Imprisonment

After one year, a spouse who has served more than three years in jail has the legal right to divorce.

  1. Husband fails to support the wife

According to Article 124, the woman may ask for a divorce if the husband withholds money or refuses to support her. According to Article 125, the husband’s absence is acceptable if:

  • In situations of non-compliance with an alimony judgment, judges have the power to decree divorce. Still, they can only do so after allowing the husband one month to fulfil his commitment.
  • If it is unknown where he is, and there is no evidence that he is wealthy, the court will have to grant the divorce.

Find right here – How to Choose the Best Divorce Lawyers or Attorney? 

How may Divorce Lawyer at HHS Lawyers and Legal Consultants assist you?

Our divorce lawyers in Dubai are multilingual and provide various legal services, including counselling and advice, conflict resolution, court representation, remuneration, and continuous legal assistance, all to achieve the best possible result for the family. In addition to being knowledgeable in the law, our divorce lawyers in Dubai are sensitive to the delicate nature of family disagreements and, where feasible, assist family members in reaching fair agreements with the least amount of upheaval.

Our divorce lawyers in Dubai would be happy to help you if you contact us through the contact us form, email, or phone with any questions about family law.

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.