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Divorce Proceedings in the UAE | According to Lawyers from Sharjah

Divorce proceedings in the uae, according to lawyers in sharhah blog by S & S Lawyers is a distinguished law firm in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. We have a dedicated team comprised of adept legal professionals with proven track record in the industry, showcasing years of dedication to the practice of law. Specializing in various areas of legal expertise, possessing the skills and knowledge necessary to address complex legal challenges. Whether it is corporate law, litigation, or regulatory matters, S & S Lawyers stands as a pillar of strength for our clients.

You are an expat woman with two kids, you and your husband have come up with a decision to break off your marriage because things are not working out anymore and you have talked about it for a very long time now. But you don’t know what will happen to your children and your shared properties once the separation happens, and you are confused about actions to take as you do not know the rights of a divorcee in the United Arab Emirates.

The United Arab Emirates comprises over 200 different nationalities which is 84% of its total population. Expatriates should not be surprised when they find out that local divorce law in the UAE is substantially different to the law of their home country as it reflects local culture and tradition and is based on Islamic Sharia Law (most heavily influenced by Egyptian Law).

Where can I start divorce proceedings?

Jurisdiction is what they call it, It is the court’s ability to accept an application for divorce. And for expats, there is usually a choice of jurisdiction in which a divorce may take place after considerations of the husband or wife’s place of birth, the country in which they have lived and settled for a period of time or the local UAE court.

To apply for a divorce, it is important to take note that you should be of sound mind and be able to make your own choices. Couples meeting a counselor to attempt to resolve their existing issues should also be one of the first steps they should take before they proceed with the divorce.

Both parties will need to draft a settlement agreement, which doesn’t necessarily need to adhere to UAE laws nor Sharia principles but can instead be based on terms mutually agreed by the parties and once the conciliator agrees with the terms of the settlement agreement, the parties sign it before the conciliator before the judge executes it. The parties also obtain the certificate of divorce and the attested settlement agreement at this time.

And if they fail to reach an agreement, the conciliator will provide the claimant with a referral letter that indicates to proceed before the First Instance Court.

How long will divorce take?

Usually, if the parties are able to reach an agreement in respect of the divorce, arrangements for children and finances, the entire process can be concluded within three months. And divorce proceedings in the UAE are considered quicker than in most western jurisdictions. And if the divorce parties cannot reach an agreement, the litigation can continue for well over a year or more.

What will happen to the shared assets and debts?

There is no UAE law applicable to the allocation of assets following a marital breakdown but financial outcomes vary dramatically depending on where the divorce is initiated or the type of situations. Judges generally uphold the principle that each party retains the assets held in their respective names and the joint assets such as bank accounts, properties and shares are divided equally to both parties or according to the percentages presented in the evidence.

What happens to the children following divorce?

Children are always the ones taking the biggest hit with the separation of the parents.

According to Federal Law No 28 of 2005 for Personal Affairs, the biological mother of the child is the custodian and the father is the guardian. Custody involves day-to-day care of the child, which is usually granted to the mother without interfering with the right of guardianship awarded to the father.

A custodian is an individual who takes care of the child on a day-to-day basis and has physical custody of the child while a guardian is someone who is responsible for providing financial support, taking care of education, travel and general upbringing of the children.

The right of the custodian upon the male child reaches the end point when they hit the age of eleven, and for when the female child reaches the age of thirteen unless the court believes that the extension of the custody is in the children’s best interest. And again, the mother is entitled to the custody of the children during court proceedings, unless the judge believes that such custody is not in the interest of the child.

Conclusion

The information above is not intended to be specific legal advice and the content is merely indicative and is subject to change based on the government’s decisions. We recommend you to seek specific advice from an experienced lawyer to know whether the UAE is the appropriate jurisdiction to go through the divorce proceedings, with a list of factors in mind concerning assets, agreements and with the best interests of the children.

Divorce proceedings can be stressful to both parties involved as well for the children, so if you need specific guidance and assistance in such matters, do not hesitate to talk to S & S Lawyers via (06) 5305559 as we have specialized legal professionals and consultants based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates that can massively help you during these hard times.

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