Whether you just moved to Dubai or have been a resident for a long period, you may be wondering about the country’s divorce process.
Especially when you can no longer fix your marriage and the only way to fix things is to call it quits, there’s no other option but to go through a separation.
What are the rules and laws that govern divorce in Dubai?
You need to know the Dubai divorce laws because it will help you get a clear picture of where you stand and how you can approach your own situation.
The following are some of the most important laws that govern divorce in Dubai:
- Mutual Consent Divorce – Both spouses agree to seek a divorce and are willing to submit their application for divorce together and mutually consent to this decision.
- Unilateral Divorce – One spouse submits a request for divorce without the consent of his or her partner; thus, unilateral or one-sided divorces will be considered valid only when evidence is found of the other spouse’s refusal or rejection in continuing with their marriage.
They might also be considered valid if they include evidence that shows that the other party is mentally ill, physically disabled, and hence unable to fulfill his/her marital duties.
- Conditional Divorce – A conditional divorce is one in which there are certain conditions laid down by both parties before they agree on getting divorced. These conditions may range from financial settlements to alimony payments, custody arrangements, and more.
Such types of divorces may also include temporary divorces which give both parties time to think about their joint decision before proceeding toward finalizing it.
How to File for Divorce in Dubai
The first step to filing for divorce in Dubai is a notification to the Department of Family and Child Affairs.
This can be done through the Dubai Courts website or by submitting the request at their customer happiness centers.
For this notification process, you will need a valid residency visa. And if your spouse doesn’t have a residency visa in UAE, they can visit one of these centers and declare their marital status before leaving the country.
Also, in case you’re filing for divorce on your own behalf, you will have to present an original marriage certificate and photocopies that have been verified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
What is the divorce process in Dubai?
The divorce process in Dubai involves the following stages:
When filing the divorce petition with the Dubai Court, you or your attorney will sign and submit your divorce papers to the relevant court.
You’ll need to show evidence of your spouse’s residence (rather than yours) in Dubai. For example, a tenancy contract or utility bill may suffice.
In some cases, you may be able to proceed with a verbal complaint and have it put in writing by a court representative. Your spouse will then be sent paperwork regarding the divorce proceedings, which are handled by the Personal Status Court or Family Guidance Section of each emirate’s court.
You can expect your case to be heard within two months of filing for divorce. But if both parties agree, it can take as little as one month from start to finish.
When notifying the other party, your spouse will receive all documents concerning the proceedings via registered mail at their home or apartment in Dubai and is required by law to respond within 30 days of receiving them.
If they don’t respond during that time period, you’re permitted to present them with another set of documents via legal publication in two local newspapers.
This is done so that they can’t later claim that they were unaware of what was happening.
If they still don’t respond after this second notification, you’re entitled to ask for an automatic judgment granting you custody over minor children when appropriate, financial support alimony payments, and property division.
Paperwork Involved in a Divorce Case in Dubai
This may vary from case to case, but generally speaking, the documents that you need for divorce are as follows:
- Original marriage certificate
- Divorce application (two photocopies)
- Passport copy of the plaintiff
- Witnesses (if required)
- Affidavit of the plaintiff (two photocopies)
- Affidavit of the other party (if they choose to sign it of their own free will and consent)
The court fees are set by law and are paid at the time of filing.
When to hire a divorce lawyer in Dubai?
It’s always advisable to hire a divorce lawyer when you want to file for a divorce.
However, it becomes more important when couples are not able to decide about the alimony and child custody among themselves.
Hiring a good divorce lawyer in Dubai can help you get the rights of child custody and spousal support as well.
Filing for divorce in Dubai is quite complex, and that’s why you need to hire a specialist lawyer who has knowledge of family law.
For example, if you are a Christian and your spouse is Muslim, then hiring a Christian lawyer can be beneficial, as they might be able to represent your case better in court than anyone else.
Divorce is a complicated subject, but the process itself can be quite simple. If you follow the above-mentioned tips carefully, you should have fewer trouble getting a divorce in Dubai.
If you need help in the financial aspects of your divorce, the resources listed below can help you deal with managing assets and money.