New Marriage and Divorce Law for foreigners in AD

Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 7 February 2022: H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD), issued Decision No. 8 of 2022 approving the Regulations for the implementation of the Civil Marriage and Divorce Law No. 14 of 2020 in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Youssef Saeed Al Abri, Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, said that the regulations encompass all the details about the organisation of legal proceedings under the Civil Marriage and Divorce Law in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is a law that introduces a modern and advanced concept of civil family law for foreigners in line with international best practices.

The regulations, he explained, span 52 articles dealing with the jurisdiction of the Civil Family Court, which has been established in the emirate, to decide on claims and disputes related to civil marriage and its effects, such as civil divorce, joint custody of children, financial rights arising out of divorce, wills, civil inheritance, proof of parentage, adoption, and other foreign nationals’ personal status issues, said Wam.

The second chapter of the Decision deals with civil marriage procedures and the conditions for its conclusion, the most important of which is the absence of the requirement for a tutor or guardian for the wife and the absence of the provision of witnesses, in addition to the possibility of concluding civil marriage contracts for tourists and individuals residing outside the emirate or outside the country, a service that is provided by the emirate exclusively in the region.

The third chapter covers civil divorce procedures or what is known as “no fault divorce”, based on the equal right of both spouses to initiate a divorce without prejudice to the wife’s financial rights in connection with the divorce, from the first hearing without the need to prove prejudice or justify the reasons for separation, thus making it possible to complete the procedures easily and swiftly to reduce quarrels and discord between the spouses, especially if the couple has children.

Article 13 of the Decision deals with the procedures for filing the civil divorce application. It stipulates that the applicant must fill out the bilingual application form prepared for this purpose without the need for the assistance of a lawyer. The defendant may challenge the court’s jurisdiction only, without any other defence on the merits, no later than ten working days before the date of the hearing scheduled for the pronouncement of divorce. The court renders the divorce decision at the first hearing after 30 days from the date of approval of the application.

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