Things to Know About the New Law on Civil Marriage & Divorce for Non-Muslims in UAE

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The laws and regulations regarding non-Muslim civil marriage used to be pretty strict. However, with the recent development, amendments, and new policy, non-Muslims are allowed to marry and divorce and get full custody of their child under the new civil marriage and divorce law in the UAE.


Earlier, the laws concerning civil marriage and divorce were not categorized or legalized. The entire system was run on Islamic Sharia principles compared to the other Gulf or Middle Eastern countries. The rules were not changed in the past as the UAE’s leadership wanted to maintain its competitive edge as a regional and commercial canyon. Despite the fact that the new rules have been imposed to take matters to a whole next level.


With the new rule announced this month, non-Muslim residents in the UAE can easily opt for marriage and divorce under civil guardianship. While in terms of taking custody of their children, particularly in Abu Dhabi, UAE.


Insights Regarding the New Law 

The best law firm in Dubai explains the new changes as a bold and liberal decision to give convenience and independent personal status to the non-Muslims residing in UAE. This decision also ensures the advanced and pliable judicial system that is working for the betterment of the state and people in the UAE. According to a general public opinion, this new amendment in the law has also resulted in making UAE more attractive to the people to come work and live in the UAE.


The President of the UAE Federation of Seven Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s chief, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed-al-Nahayan clearly and succinctly said that these new rules concerning civil marriage, alimony, divorce, child custody, and proof of paternity or inheritance would improve the UAE’s position and global competitiveness of the emirate as the most competitive and desired locations for skilled, young, and talented individuals. Moreover, it is the best decision that is being made for the non-Muslim community that aligns the international standards and practices for the people to feel more secure and independent while living in the United Arab Emirates.


Understanding the Individual Law Status for Non-Muslims   

The President of the UAE Federation of Seven Emirates and Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed-al-Nahayan signed the personal status law for the non-Muslims, which particularly addresses the family concerns in the UAE. However, the judicial body of the UAE presented the legislation that gives non-Muslim the right to adhere to and follow the internationally recognized law for people belonging to different religious groups, cultures, languages, and traditions while safeguarding the children’s best interest.


When we talk about the Middle Eastern countries or Gulf countries, this is the first-ever law passed in terms of favoring the non-Muslim community at large. Earlier, all the rules, laws, and regulations are in accordance with the Islamic Shariah Law. However, the new amendment and announcement regarding the law have given civil marriages and divorce a legal status for the people belonging to different religious groups than Islam. Having said this, here are a few of the pointers to talk about;


  • Formation of Dedicated Courts

The judicial department has been instructed to set up new and dedicated courtrooms for non-Muslim family matters that will entertain the people in terms of civil marriages, divorce, child settlement, alimony, etc. In addition, the courts have also been instructed to operate in English and Arabic to make the hearing, trial, and undertakings more convenient and easier for the people.


  • Structure of Civil Law or Regulation

The structure and composition of the Civil Law dedicatedly working to the non-Muslim communities would enthusiastically work for the convenience, satisfaction, and betterment of the non-Muslim people in the United Arab Emirates.


The erection and arrangement of the directive consist of 21 articles in total that are divided or separated under 5 different chapters that particularly address civil marriage, dissociation, child safekeeping, and heritage. With this being said, here are the five intervals that explain all the 21 articles as prepared and presented in the new law announced.


  • When we talk about the first chapter in the new directive for civil marriage and divorce cases for non-Muslim persons, we learn that the law clearly mentions that people belonging to different religions can marry at the disposal of a civil court after both the husband and the wife are willing to marry each other.
  • The second chapter specifically focuses on divorce cases in non-Muslim groups. This sheds light on the divorced couple, the proceeding of a case, settlement deeds, and the protected rights of divorced women. The dedicated civil court will also monitor a woman’s financial status and therefore entitle her to monetary factors such as the years of marriage, age, and the economic position of the husband.
  • Moving on to the third chapter, we have a settlement for child custody. They strive to give joint custody to both parents who allow the mother and father to have equal custody of their child or children. This is an excellent step as it safeguards the child’s psychological health as well as wouldn’t hinder the growth or development.
  • The fourth chapter comes, which focuses on the inheritance rules that require non-Muslims to declare and register their wealth and go on.
  • The last chapter and fifth chapter of the following concern and focus on the non-Muslim immigrant’s paternity evidence. In this, the role and rights of fatherhood have been intensified hence acknowledging the establishment of fatherhood.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

    The Key Changes in a Nutshell

When we move towards the last part of the new law for civil marriage and divorce for non-Muslim communities, the consent from the bride’s family doesn’t matter anymore. From now onwards, the marriage is solely between the man and woman and hence doesn’t need to have any consent involved from the family. Similarly, when it comes to a divorce case, non-Muslim couples can file for divorce in the civil court without having to declare if the marriage was abusive, etc.