The cohabitation of unmarried couples was recently decriminalised in the UAE.

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:40:59

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The cohabitation of unmarried couples was recently decriminalised in the UAE.

It may be noted that prior to the recent legal reforms announced by the UAE government with respect to various laws — one of them being the provisions of Federal Law No. (3) of 1987 Related to Issuance of Penal Code (Penal Law of UAE) — engaging in a relationship (sexual) with someone not married to you was considered as a criminal offence.

This is in accordance with Article 356 of the Penal Law of UAE, which states: “Without prejudice to the preceding two Articles, the crime of indecent assault with mutual consent shall be punished by detention for at least one year; however if the crime is committed against a male or female who is under fourteen years of age, or if the crime is committed by coercion, it shall be punished by temporary imprisonment.”

In light of the aforementioned legal reforms announced by the UAE government, cohabitation of unmarried couples has been decriminalised and shall no longer constitute as an offence. However, it may be prudent to note that no legal reform has been announced yet with respect to the legal status of a child born out of wedlock.

Furthermore, you and your girlfriend shall be required to present your valid marriage certificate for the issuance of a birth certificate of your newborn child. In the event you are unable to submit a valid marriage certificate, a birth certificate may not be issued for your newborn child. You may seek further clarification on this from the relevant ministry of the UAE government.

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