Family Law Legislation in Dubai, UAE .pdf
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Family Law Legislation in Dubai, UAE: Mr. Hassan Elhais
Marriage between Muslims in the UAE is a contract executed through “Nikah”. Non-Muslims can
marry in churches, temple or any other sacred place. As the Gulf country abides by the Sharia law,
there are certain rights bestowed upon husband and wife under the law. The family law is regulated
by Federal law No. 28 of 2005 which is the Personal Status Law (PSL). The law looks into matters
related to marriage, divorce, maintenance, guardianship, as well as inheritance. According to the
law no 28, family is described as a husband the head to his wife, looking after the home and taking
responsibility for children. Though family-related laws are quick to resolve yet this too depends on
The family law in UAE gives some exclusive rights to both husband and wife.
According to Sharia law, both husband and wife should put efforts for the family to prosper based
on principles such as kindness, consideration and respect. Both should work together to ensure that
their child gets proper education and that he/she grows in a healthy environment. Husband and Wife
should work together in the best interest of the family.
The Sharia law stipulates that a wife should always respect and obey the husband and ensure proper
functioning of the matrimonial home, taking care of everything. Besides, she should give complete
attention to children.
Husband does not have a right to prohibit the wife from visiting her family. Besides, the man is not
permitted physically abuse or harm her morally. The man should not interfere in financial assets of
his wife. These rules are valid even if a man is married to more than one wife. The husband should
make sure that he treats each of wife equally.
Under article 52, a wife can herself limit her rights in certain situations. A Mahar should be given by
the husband to the woman at the time of Nikah or after the marriage. A wife might agree to the
husband's demand if he asks to pay Mahar partially.
A wife has a complete ownership of Mahar according to the article 55.
As per the section 53, a lawsuit can be filed against the husband if he refuses to pay the agreed
amount as part of Mahar at the time of the contract of marriage.
Under all circumstances, both the husband and wife should agree once the right is given in the
contract, as mentioned under article 57.
Marriage & dissolution:
Non-muslim expats can get married in the UAE at temples or churches, but registrations are made
in the home country or notary public. When it comes to the dissolution of marriage, couples can go
apply for divorce at Sharia court or else expats must file for separation in the Country where they
got married. There is no interference of local UAE laws when the entire divorce process is done in
the home country. In case of Muslims, divorces can be an accelerated process; however, this can get
complicated if a custody dispute is involved.
According to Sharia law, if either of the spouse dies bank accounts of the deceased gets frozen. This
may continue for weeks or months. Foreigners should make sure that they have drafted a will which
is made according to the Sharia law. This can help you to avoid any troubles in the future.
According to Article 156 of the Federal Law No. 28 of the year 2005 UAE Personal Status Law, a
child's custody shall always go to the mother up to a certain age, however, this law can change if
custodian isn't deemed to be fit the child’s best interests. The law only focuses on giving child
custody to an either of the parent who satisfies the needs of child's best interest. The one who will
look after the kid physically, emotionally and financially. To get a custody of a child, they need to
meet certain criteria including honest, maturity, the one who is free of serious crime, financially
capable, free of any infectious diseases.
About Author: Mr. Hassan Elhais is professional advocate in Dubai, UAE, who has obtained a
diploma in Private Law which includes Shariah Laws, Philosophy of Laws, Trials of Law,
Commercial Law and Civil Law.