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Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi

Personal Status Law for Non-Muslim Foreigners in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi-3a global legal consultants -uae

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has issued a new Civil Personal Status Decree establishing a personal status law for non-Muslim foreigners in Abu Dhabi. The issues of marriage, divorce, wills, inheritance, and child custody are all addressed in the decree that was signed on November 7, 2021.

This law seeks to bypass the complexity of the previous process by providing a simplified and accessible legal framework for non-Muslim expatriates living in Abu Dhabi. Testimony, marriage, divorce, estate matters, and child custody are only few of the areas where the law protects women’s rights in Abu Dhabi without exception.

Here are some of the most important aspects of the law

Non-Muslim foreign nationals who live in Abu Dhabi are subject to the personal status law. This law will apply to marriage, divorce, wills, inheritance, and child custody for non-U.S. citizens if they so choose. A single judge will hear all of the cases. This law allows for the creation of a new court that will function in both Arabic and English and whose judges need not be Muslims.

There are specific age and singleness requirements for entering into a civil marriage. The declaration form requires them to reveal any previous marriages and divorces. A contract stating the terms of the marriage and the rights of each spouse in the event of divorce can be submitted by the parties at the time of the marriage. The will-making process might be incorporated into the contract as well. There is no need for a prenuptial physical.

In the event of divorce, an alien may petition the court for dissolution of marriage without stating cause or assigning blame. Instead of going through family counseling first, divorce cases will be filed with the court and resolved during the first session once both parties have been notified.

Depending on the length of the marriage, the wife’s age, and both parties’ financial situations, the court may decide to award maintenance (alimony) to the wife. If the ex-wife gets remarried, she loses her right to spousal support.

Both the wife and the husband have an equal say in raising their children. If parents cannot agree on custody, the court will make a determination.

Foreigners are allowed to make wills and have their assets dispersed in accordance with those documents. In the absence of a will, a foreigner’s surviving spouse will inherit half of the deceased’s assets, and the remainder will be divided equally among the surviving children. If there are no offspring, each parent will receive 50% of the estate.

A legal advisor or the appropriate authorities in Abu Dhabi should be consulted for the most precise and up-to-date information on the personal status law for non-Muslim foreigners.

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