The UAE’s President and Abu Dhabi Ruler has issued a Personal Status Law for non-Muslims.
It will regulate personal status matters for non-Muslims in the Emirate.
It aims to provide a flexible and developed judicial mechanism for personal status disputes for non-Muslims.
It is the first law of its kind in the world and has been issued in line with international best practices.
It will guarantee the right of non-Muslims to be subject to an internationally acknowledged law which is familiar to them in terms of culture, customs and language as well.
In addition it will protect the interests of children, particularly where their parents separate.
A specialist court to hear these types of disputes has also been established.
Their procedures will be in Arabic and English. This is aimed at helping foreigners understand judicial procedures and improve judicial transparency.
It covers civil marriages, divorces, joint custody of children and inheritance.
The first chapter of the law regulates the marriage procedures for foreigners before the courts. This is done by introducing the concept of civil marriage based on the will of both husband and wife.
The second chapter defines the divorce procedures for non-Muslims. It also specifies the rights of the spouses after divorce and judicial discretion in assessing the wife’s financial rights in line with several criteria. This includes the number of years they have been married for, the wife’s age and the economic standing of each of the spouses.
The third chapter introduces a new concept in custody of children where the parents divorce. This is the concept of shared or joint custody. This will enable fathers and mothers to share custody equally.
The fourth chapter addresses inheritance issues, the registration of wills for non-Muslims and the right of a foreigner to draw up a will to devolve all of their property to any one they want to.
The fifth chapter of the law regulates proof of paternity for non-Muslim foreigners. The evidence will have to be based on marriage or recognition of paternity. Also reported in Alroeya on 7 November 2021. For full story, click here.
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