Divorce and Family Law in the UAE
Instructing a lawyer while living abroad can be a daunting prospect. As UK qualified family lawyers, we are specialists in international divorce proceedings. When you instruct us, you can be confident that our team will quickly dispel any uncertainty and anxiety you feel.
We have a wealth of experience in reaching amicable divorce settlements in the local courts. Most couples choose to enter into a Settlement Agreement, meaning there is no need for formal litigation.
Expatriates make up over 80% of the population in the United Arab Emirates. Our divorce lawyers understand that considering or responding to divorce proceedings can be a challenging and stressful life event. We offer a sensitive, client-focused service which assists in reducing the anxiety caused by having to go through this tough time on your own.
As part of our divorce service, we will take the time to take your detailed instructions, find out what it is you want to achieve and provide you with the support you need to make an informed decision. Early advice is always recommended as this can put you in a more favourable position.
We are a multi-lingual firm, proficient in Sharia and non-Sharia law. Our family lawyers are registered with the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Dubai Legal Affairs Department. We have a robust knowledge of UK/UAE law and how it applies to expatriates in the UAE. As a niche firm, we are highly respected in the region for our family law expertise. We run a fully digital practice and can arrange meetings by video conference if preferred.
Our divorce lawyers specialise in areas of divorce, separation, custody, and financial settlements in the UAE/ UK Courts. Our practice areas include:
- Divorce (UK Divorce, UAE Divorce, Dubai Divorce, Abu Dhabi Divorce)
- Arrangements for children, custody and guardianship issues.
- Ancillary relief, Maintenance (division of finances, properties and assets)
- Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
- Separation/Separation Agreements
- Domestic Abuse/Injunctions
- Forced Marriages
- Children’s Issues
- Advice on travel bans
Our highly dedicated family lawyers provide you with:
- A detailed review of your circumstances to ascertain the right course of action.
- Representation in Court and all preliminary meetings.
- Preparation of Settlement Agreements or memos for Court submission
- Dealing with your divorce and/or other ancillary matters from start to finish.
What law governs divorce in the UAE?
The new Federal Personal Status Law (Federal Law No. 41 of 2022) will govern key family matters such as marriage, child custody, divorce, and inheritance.
It is important to note that the above law applies only to non-Muslim expatriates residing in the UAE unless one opts to apply their home country’s law or other legislation regulating family or personal status.
Do I need to provide a reason to divorce my spouse in the UAE?
Under this new law, with the introduction of the No Fault Divorce , one has the choice and right to divorce their spouse without showing harm or fault. There is no need to provide a justification or a reason, as was previously required. It is hoped that this will allow the divorce to proceed peacefully, amicably, and swiftly under the new law.
As a wife will I get maintenance from my husband?
The new law entitles the wife to apply for alimony from her husband using the Court prescribed form. If the request for financial provisions put forward by the wife is rejected by the husband, the Court will have discretionary powers to take into consideration various factors such as:
- the duration of the marriage
- the wife’s age
- the financial situation of each party
- the extent of the husband’s contribution to the divorce
- the financial damage caused to either party as a result of the divorce
- the extent of financial provisions made by the husband for the wife and children
- the extent of the care given to the children by the wife
This is in line with other jurisdictions which take into account various factors when considering the amount of maintenance to award.
Can we share custody of our children?
The new law introduces the concept of shared parental responsibility, and in case there is a dispute regarding parental rights, either parent may approach the Court and make an application to exclude the other in order to obtain sole custody. The Court will review the information and decide who is awarded custody based on what is in the best interests of the children and their well-being and safety.
Can I get divorced under UK law?
You may have your divorce proceedings heard in an English court if:
- both parties to the marriage are habitually resident in England and Wales; or
- both parties were last habitually resident in England and Wales, and one of them still lives there: or
- the Respondent (the party served with divorce papers) is habitually resident in England and Wales; or
- If you are jointly applying for a divorce then either you or your spouse are habitually resident in England and Wales; or
- the Applicant (the party who has served divorce papers on their spouse) is habitually resident in England and Wales and has resided there for at least 12 months immediately before the application is filed; or
- the Applicant is domiciled and habitually resident in England and Wales and has been living in England and Wales for at least six months directly before the application is filed; or
- Both parties to the marriage are domiciled in England and Wales; or
- Only either the applicant or the respondent is domiciled in England and Wales.
Our lawyers can swiftly establish if you can get divorced under UK law and quickly file the divorce petition in the UK courts on your behalf.
If the couple wishes to divorce and can agree on amicable terms drafted and prepared by a family lawyer, a judge will execute it and a divorce certificate will be granted.
Our divorce lawyers will provide the expert, compassionate advice and representation you need during this difficult time. We will ensure you understand the difference in the divorce processes fully and have extensive knowledge of all the options available to you.
To book a consultation to discuss your UAE divorce or the preparation of a settlement (amicable) agreement, please contact us:
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