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UAE: Non-Muslims are now subject to a new law; here’s what you need to know.

UAE: Non-Muslims are now subject to a new law; here’s what you need to know.

According to a new proclamation released on Sunday by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, non-Muslims would be permitted to marry, divorce, and have shared child custody under civil law in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE’s latest move is part of its ongoing efforts to maintain its position as a regional commercial superpower, where personal status law was formerly based on Islamic sharia, like in other Gulf nations. According to the decision, the law governs civil marriage, divorce, alimony, shared child custody and paternity evidence, as well as inheritance.

  • In Abu Dhabi, a new court will be established to handle non-Muslim family issues, and both English and Arabic will be used.
  • The new law is organized into numerous parts and covers civil marriage, divorce, joint custody of children, and inheritance.
  • The law establishes the concept of civil weddings based on both the husband and wife’s consent.
  • This means that the woman’s relatives will not be required to give their consent.
    The law allows spouses to divorce without having to establish that the marriage has been harmed, and divorce can be requested by either partner. Previously, court proof of harm was required, or the divorce would be denied.
  • According to the law, non-Muslim couples can now get divorced at the first hearing without having to go to the family advice department, and couples who are divorcing will no longer have to attend mandatory reconciliation sessions.
  • Alimony or financial rights of the woman will be determined by a number of factors, including the number of years of marriage, the wife’s age, each spouse’s financial situation, and other factors.
  • According to the law, custody of children will be split equally between the parents in order to preserve the child’s psychological health and minimize the impacts of the divorce on the child
  • The law also covers inheritance concerns, such as non-Muslim wills being registered, and an expat’s right to write a will devolving all of his or her possessions to whomever he or she desires.
  • The legislation also governs non-Muslim foreigners’ proof of paternity, stating that the newborn child’s paternity must be established by marriage or recognition of fatherhood.

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