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Grounds For Divorce In UAE

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


divorce, Divorce in the United Arab Emirates, Divorce, UAE, Federal Law, sharia law

By Arjav Sony


Divorce in the United Arab Emirates isn't as prevalent as you may expect. In spite of this, divorce rates in the Gulf region are among the highest in the region. More than 1,000 divorces were granted in the United Arab Emirates in 2018, however, just a third of them were granted to UAE nationals. Divorce rates in the United States are unusually high for a variety of reasons.

In the United Arab Emirates, divorce and the settlement after it is mentioned under Federal Law No.28 of 2005 for personal affairs. An expedited divorce certificate may be issued by the Personal Status Court, which handles both Emiratis and ex-pats, in less than a month. Most cases are simple and basic, with a few court hearings thrown in as well.

Divorce may be brought on by a wide range of factors. As an example, many divorces are the result of adultery, a lack of communication, financial hardship, or cultural misunderstandings.

Muslims and non-Muslims in the United Arab Emirates go about acquiring a divorce in different ways. To make things easier for foreigners, this article focuses on the judicial system in the United Arab Emirates and the divorce process there. In the United Arab Emirates, Sharia Law governs all divorces. 

Legal Grounds for Divorce in UAE

When it comes to divorce in the United Arab Emirates, there are a number of things to keep in mind. Perhaps the most crucial factor in divorce is why the couple is divorcing. In order to proceed, you must first fulfil a number of conditions. Before filing for divorce, the spouse must live in the UAE for at least six months, even though there is no mandatory separation period. Additionally, a divorce may be requested by anybody, regardless of religion or ethnicity.

The divorce process in the United Arab Emirates will have to go via the courts if the parties are unable to come to an agreement. In a disputed divorce, the person filing for divorce must provide a rationale and provide evidence to support their claim.

For a variety of reasons, a couple may opt to terminate their relationship, including divorce. A lack of communication and religious conflicts are among the most prominent reasons for quitting in the United Arab Emirates. However, they are not grounds for divorce in and of themselves. Legal reasons for divorce include factors like mental infirmity, handicap, and non-payment of dowry, however, these are only a few examples.

There may be unanticipated effects to your reasons for divorcing your spouse. Adultery, for example, is a legal basis for divorce in the UAE, but it is also a criminal violation. After the divorce, the putative adulterer may face prosecution or deportation for the crime of adultery. To avoid having to specify and establish reasons for divorce, most attorneys advise their clients to negotiate an agreeable settlement.

The most prevalent legal reasons for divorce in the United Arab Emirates are described in greater detail below-

  • Adultery

It is a common cause of marital breakups across the globe, especially in the United Arab Emirates. This occurs when one of the spouses has sexual contact with another person while still married. In order to prove adultery, you'll have to rely on more than circumstantial evidence and suspicions. Perhaps an eyewitness account, pictures, or telephone records are required.

  • Desertion

The term "desertion" refers to a situation in which one partner departs the marriage without the other's agreement. In order for a divorce to be granted, a specific amount of time must have elapsed from the couple's separation. Typically, this period lasts between one and two years.

  •  Abuse

It doesn't matter if the abuse in a marriage is physical or emotional; both are grounds for divorce. The petitioner must present medical records to back up their allegations of mistreatment. There must also be two male witnesses who can back up the claims. Claimants may bring in female witnesses, but only as half witnesses.

  •  Repudiation

Repudiation Article 99 sets out that the rejection might be vocal, writing, or by an understandable sigh (in case of incapacity) (in case of inability). In the husband’s situation, having a free choice but for the wife may do it only if her husband granted her entire autonomy (Article 101) and she is not in the Iddah-waiting time after the divorce – (article 102).

  • On account of defects 

If one of the parties had leprosy, blockage of genital canals, or insanity before or during the marriage, the spouse might petition for the marriage’s rescission. But if the spouse understood this flaw before the marriage, he/she would lose the right to rescission (Article 112). According to article 114, in case of deception, if one of the spouses would not have entered into the marriage agreement had they been cognizant of the deceit, he/she is permitted to use this as a reason for divorce.

  • Non-payment of the owing dowry

The personal conduct legislation puts out in article 116 that the woman in a non-consummated wedding must be proclaimed divorced for non-payment by her spouse of the dowry, however, after fulfilment of the marriage, divorce wouldn’t be possible. Nonetheless, the obligation of the dowry will persist.

  • Owning to prejudice and disharmony

In UAE, the two spouses are able to file for a divorce in event of prejudice, however, the Family Orientation Committee should attempt the reunification between both (article 117). If the reunification with the panel is not feasible, the court must appoint a new arbitrator (parents) and attempt to reunite the couple. Throughout the conclusion, if the reunion is not accomplished, the bias must be proven by the legal methods of evidence (article 118-120).

  •  Due to unavailability and absence

The wife has the right to a judicial divorce if her husband is absent and doesn’t have the ability to afford the alimony (article 129). However, if the husband's whereabouts are unknown, the wife seems to have the right to seek a judicial divorce, which will only be granted after an investigation and search for him for a year (article 130).

  •  Imprisonment of the Spouse

When a spouse is imprisoned for more than three years, his wife does have the right to file for divorce after one year (article 131).

  •  Abstaining from supporting

If the husband does not provide money or refuses to support his wife, she has the option of requesting a divorce, according to Article 124. The husband's absence seems permissible in accordance with Article 125 if:

  • Judges have the authority to impose divorce in cases of noncompliance with an alimony order, but they may only do so after giving the husband one month to fulfil his obligation.
  • If his whereabouts aren't known, and there's no proof he has money, the court will have to order the divorce.


(The writer is a Legal Research Intern at The Law Reporters.)

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