From February 1st, 2023, non-Muslim expatriates in the UAE will see reforms to their family laws. The Federal Personal Status Law will come into effect and introduce the Abu Dhabi civil family court system across the emirates.
The changes will modernize the legal system and cover topics such as marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance. Read on to understand these new reforms.
Non-Muslim couples will be able to marry in a non-Sharia legal process with the new law regulating the marriage conditions and procedures for documenting the marriage before a judge.
Parties must be at least 21 years old and fill out a declaration form in front of a judge. This change has been available in Abu Dhabi since February 2022 and will now be available across the UAE.
The new law will simplify the divorce process, allowing either spouse to request a divorce in court without proving fault or justification. Divorces can be granted after one hearing, without the need for family guidance counselling or mediation sessions.
In cases where children are involved, joint and equal custody will be granted until the children are 18 years old. The court will handle disputes and consider the child’s best interest.
Financial alimony will be based on factors such as the length of the marriage, the wife’s age, and both spouses’ financial status. Women’s testimonies will have equal weight to that of men.
Non-Muslims will be able to register a will at the same time as their marriage certificate, allowing them to give their property as they wish. In the absence of a will, 50 percent of a person’s estate will go to the spouse and the remaining 50 percent will be divided equally among any children. If there are no children, 50% will go to surviving parents or siblings.
These reforms are part of a larger effort to modernize the UAE’s legal system. Not only will it make it easy for non-Muslims to get married in the states easily, but it’ll also allow them to conveniently start a new family.
If you need help getting married in the UAE, consider contacting us right away. We’ll help you out by providing everything you need, including the wedding experience that you’ve always dreamt of.