Divorce, though is not a happy word, may be the only option for some couples. UAE has been rated as having the highest divorce rates in the Middle East. While residing in the UAE, if you decide that getting a divorce is the best solution, you will have to follow the below procedures.
Divorce in Dubai
The first step is to approach the Moral and Family Guidance Section at the court. The Sharia Law makes it quite difficult for a couple to get a divorce. The Judge should be fully convinced that there is no way for your marriage to work out and granting a divorce is necessary.
Divorce in Islam
Who can apply to Sharia courts?
Muslim men of various nationalities and Non Muslim women married to Muslim men can apply for divorce petitions in Sharia courts. The person filing the divorce case should be of sound mind and should be able to take decisions on his/her own.
Reasons for divorce
After filing for a divorce, the couple will be assigned to a counselor, who will approach them and discuss on the reason for divorce. After the counseling session is over, each couple will be given a three-month period to reconsider their decision. It is not possible to approach the court directly without a recommendation letter from the Family Guidance Section.
Once the three-month period is over, if the couple involved still insist on proceeding with the divorce, their papers are forwarded to the court. The couple will have to present their copies of passport, residence visa, marriage certificate and other required documents. The documents should be translated to Arabic. It is better to have a copy of a mutual agreement between the husband and wife, in both Arabic as well as English. The mutual agreement makes the divorce proceedings faster and easier.
The Judge takes his time to study the case and appears for the case. Both the parties involved in the divorce need to be present in all the sittings. The Judge, again, will discuss the case and try for reconciliation. The witnesses, if any, will also be called to court. There may be a number of sessions before the final judgment.
In UAE, there is an option for women to obtain a Khula- a separation from her husband. In this case, she will have to return the dowry. This option is similar to Talaq sought by men.
If the divorce applicants are from a different country and reside in UAE, they can get a divorce as per the administrative law in either UAE or their own country. This is their choice.
If the couple is non-Muslim, they can seek divorce according to the divorce law of their country, at the embassy or consulate.
A woman can file for divorce if she can prove that her husband has physically or mentally tortured her, or if he has not taken care of her / her children for a period of three months.
According to Sharia court, husbands can send written letters to their wives stating that they have been divorced. It is said that now SMS, emails or phone calls can be used for Talaq purposes. The wife can approach the court for a separation if any of the above methods have been used.
Once the divorce proceedings are completed, the parties involved should take necessary steps to change their new visa status with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs
Divorce and children
When disputes of the child’s custody prop up between parents, the decisions about the custody are based on Sharia law. If a resident of UAE who is not a UAE citizen and is married to either a UAE national or a resident who is not a UAE national, can file custody cases in the UAE. Non-residents can also file cases pertaining to custody in UAE. For this they will have to authorize a UAE resident or a lawyer who is practicing in the UAE to act on their behalf for the duration of the case.
Links to Divorce Attorneys in UAE
For further information, please visit: http://dubai.ae/en/Lists/Articles/DispForm.aspx?ID=99&category=Citizens