Dh7-million alimony: UAE civil court issues one of region's biggest divorce settlements

The divorce itself was granted in less than a month and the financial settlement (alimony) was issued in a period of 4 months


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Fri 10 Mar 2023, 8:35 AM

Last updated: Fri 10 Mar 2023, 2:42 PM

The Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court has issued one of the biggest divorce settlements in the region, with a value of more than Dh7 million, according to a legal expert.

The secular expats court granted the wife 35 pe rcent of her ex-husband's wealth, including 35 per cent of his properties and salary.

The couple that resides in Abu Dhabi had been married for a long time.

“This is the first divorce case in the region where an expert is appointed by the court to calculate the party's wealth and financial assets, as per the civil marriage law 14/2021 issued in Abu Dhabi in November 2021,” said Hesham Elrafei, a legal expert in Abu Dhabi.

“The law and the recent court decision are symbolic as they enhance women's rights and gender equality in the region, with a new era of modern and progressive family law concepts.”

The divorce itself was granted in less than a month and the financial settlement (alimony) was issued in a period of 4 months.

The civil family court (previously called Non-Muslims court) is available for all expats regardless of faith and residency.

Abu Dhabi had rolled out this law regulating family matters for foreigners, including civil marriage, divorce, joint child custody and financial rights. The law, which was implemented in December 2021 applies to all foreigners, tourists and individuals (Muslims and non-Muslims) from countries applying circular law.

According to new civil marriage law, divorce can now be granted in a timely and efficient manner from the first divorce hearing. The couple intending to separate may do so without the need to prove prejudice or justify the reasons for divorce. When deciding alimony payments, the length of time the couple has been married is also taken into consideration.

The law also provides for the court to order one spouse to pay the other a one-off lump sum, in addition to regular payments.

According to the figures from the Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court as of February 1, 2023, over 6,000 couples from 127 nations had tied their knot under the new civil marriage law since the scheme started. Majority of these were Filipinos with 2,300 couples, Indians with over 830 couples, Americans, Russians, Lebanese, Nigerians and Europeans.

The Expat Family Court also received 200 no-fault divorce applications, 130 civil inheritance cases, 1500 applications for civil will attestation and 300 child custody cases for mothers.


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