Abu Dhabi: New family law to help stabilise society, legal expert says

This regulates personal status matters for foreigners, including civil marriage, no fault divorce, joint child custody, and financial rights.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Mon 28 Feb 2022, 4:03 PM

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) organised an online international forum, where Dr. Lena-Maria Möller, an international expert in family law at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law spoke.

She reviewed the articles of the Abu Dhabi’s Civil Marriage Law and its effects on Abu Dhabi and its implementing regulations.

Dr. Möller said that the recent legislative developments in the UAE, particularly those related to family and children's laws, and their role in preserving and protecting rights have a bearing on the stability of society and the upbringing of generations in an appropriate manner.

This new law regulates personal status matters for foreigners, including civil marriage, no fault divorce, joint child custody, and financial rights.

It applies to all expats, non-residents and tourists regardless of their religion, as long as as their home country does not apply sharia law in family matters.

In her discussion, Dr. Möller put emphasis on the provisions concerning joint custody of children after divorce. She discussed in detail the sharing of custody between the father and mother, the cases of forfeiture of joint custody, if any of the cases detrimental to the interests of the child occur, with details of how to seek the intervention of the court in the event of disagreement over any decision concerning the child after the divorce.

She stressed on the comprehensiveness of the regulations, which deal with the competence of the Civil Family Court to decide on claims and disputes related to civil marriage and its effects. This includes the financial rights arising out of divorce, custody of children, wills, civil succession, proof of filiation, and other issues related to the personal status of foreigners. As well as, civil marriage procedures and the conditions for its conclusion, civil divorce procedures (no-fault divorce), which is based on the equal rights of both spouses to file for divorce without prejudice to the wife's financial rights in the divorce.


Dr. Ahmed Abdelzaher, legal advisor at the Technical Office of the Undersecretary of the ADJD, discussed the scope of implementation of the law and the criteria for determining jurisdiction, in accordance with the recent amendments, which stipulate that in the event that the marriage takes place in accordance with this law, the latter will be applied for all the effects of the marriage and its dissolution, as well as for the wills and inheritance of those covered by its provisions, when the bequest or money bequeathed to them is inside the country.

Counsellor Ali Al Shaer Al Dhaheri, Director of the Judicial Inspection Division at the Judicial Department, said the civil marriage law aimed at enhancing the position and competitiveness of Abu Dhabi as a destination for skills and experts from around the world in light of a legislative and judicial environment that guarantees the achievement of justice and the protection of rights.


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