New Personal Status Law for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi

  • Publish date: Sunday، 07 November 2021
New Personal Status Law for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi
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His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a law to regulate personal status matters for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi to provide a flexible and advanced judicial mechanism for the determination of personal status disputes for non-Muslims. The decision is the first of its kind in the world.

There are 20 articles divided into several chapters covering civil marriage, divorce, joint custody of children and inheritance.

The first chapter of the law

The first chapter of the law regulates the marriage procedures of foreigners before the court by introducing the concept of civil marriage based on the will of both the husband and wife.

The second chapter of the law

The second chapter defines the divorce procedures for non-Muslims, the rights of the spouses after divorce and the discretion of the judge in assessing the financial rights of the wife based on several criteria, such as the number of marriage years, the wife's age, the economic standing of each of the spouses and other considerations that the judge takes into account in determining the wife's financial rights.

The third chapter of the law

The third chapter introduces a new concept in post-divorce child custody, namely, the sharing of custody equally between the father and mother, or what is known in some Western countries as "Joint or Shared Custody," to safeguard the family's cohesion after divorce and to preserve the psychological health of the children.

The fourth chapter of the law

The fourth chapter addresses inheritance issues, the registration of wills for non-Muslims, and the right of a foreigner to draw up a will devolve all his/her property to whomever he/she wishes.

The fifth chapter of the law

Regulates the proof of paternity for non-Muslim foreigners, providing that the proof of paternity of the newborn child is based on marriage or recognition of paternity.

All the procedures of the new court will be bilingual in Arabic and English to facilitate the understanding of judicial procedures by foreigners and to improve judicial transparency.