Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD), issued Decision No. 8 of 2022 approving the Regulations for the implementation of the Civil Marriage and Divorce Law No. 14 of 2021 in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi
The Objective of the Law:
To provide a flexible and developed judicial mechanism for the settlement of the personal status disputes of Foreigners living in the Emirate.
To enhance the status and competitiveness of the Emirate on the international level as one of the most attractive destinations for human talents and competencies.
To become a pioneer for the issuance of the first civil law regulating the family matters of Foreigners, according to international practices.
To Guarantee the right of the Foreigner to be subject to an internationally recognized law that takes into consideration the relevant approaches of culture, language and customs.
To achieve and protect the best interests of the children, particularly in the case of parental separation.
To reduce the disputes and quarrels resulting from the Divorce.
To maintain the role of the mother and the father in the post-Divorce phase.
The conditions for Civil Marriage:
Not established between siblings or with children, grandchildren, or uncles
The spouses shall not be less than 18 years old. Their age shall be verified under any official document issued by the state of their nationality.
Both spouses shall explicitly give their consent to the marriage before the Authentication Judge and shall prove that there is no legal impediment that prevents such marriage.
Both spouses shall sign the Declaration Form.
Marriage shall not be established between siblings or with children, grandchildren, or uncles.
Any other conditions prescribed in a decision of the Chairman.
Procedures for Contracting a Civil Marriage:
- The Foreigner may contract a Civil Marriage before the Authentication Judge at the Department, by submitting an application using the form that is prepared for this purpose, taking into consideration other conditions and procedures stipulated in the Law.
- They are exempted from submitting the medical examination certificate before marriage.
- Marriage shall be conducted after both spouses fill in the form prepared for this purpose before the Authentication Judge. Both spouses may agree on the conditions of the contract, and they shall take into consideration the rights stipulated in the contract for each spouse during the marriage period and for the post-divorce phase.
- The spouses shall disclose, in the marriage contract Form, any previous marriage relationship. They shall also mention the date of Divorce and shall prove that there is no existing marriage relationship.
- By a decision of the Chairman or his representative, the Form of the Civil Marriage contract shall be issued in two languages.
- Upon verifying that all the conditions for contracting a Civil Marriage are met, and upon completion of the procedures stipulated in this Article, the Authentication Judge shall ratify the marriage contract, which shall be registered in the Register that is prepared for this purpose.(Article 5)
- The second chapter covers civil divorce procedures or what is known as “no-fault divorce”, based on the equal right of both spouses to initiate a divorce without prejudice to the wife’s financial rights in connection with the divorce, from the first hearing without the need to prove prejudice or justify the reasons for separation, thus making it possible to complete the procedures easily and swiftly to reduce quarrels and discord between the spouses, especially if the couple has children. (Article 6 - Unilateral Divorce)
Custody of Children:
Article(9) - The Custody of children is mentioned as a joint and equal right for both parents upon Divorce, and it is the right of the children to be raised and seen by both parents rather than by one of them exclusively, in order to maintain the mental health of the concerned child. Although The principle of equal custody is to share the responsibility of raising children, unless one of them requests in writing before the Court to waive off the right of custody, or an application to the court to eliminate the other party from Joint Custody and to drop their custody right for any reason that may be accepted by the Court such as the legal capacity or the risk of sharing custody with such party or in case such custodian does not assume his duties.
Chapter 4 – Inheritance and Wills
Article 11, 12, 13 explains about will, Distribution inherence, Procedures for Opening the File of the Inheritance, and for its Distribution, Registration of the Foreigners’ Wills.
Distribution of Inheritance will be done according to the wish of the testator to whoever is deemed adequate.
Moreover, in case of the absence of a Will, half of the inheritance shall be entitled to the husband or wife and the other half shall be equally distributed among the children with no difference between males and females.
In case the deceased has no children, then the inheritance shall equally belong to the parents thereof, or half of such inheritance shall be transferred to one of the parents in case the other one is not present, and the other half shall be granted to the siblings. In case of the absence of the parents, then the inheritance shall be equally distributed between the siblings without distinction between males and females.
The Wills of the Foreigners shall be registered in the Register that is prepared for this purpose according to the procedures in force at the Department. The spouses may fill in the form of registration of the Wills of non-Muslims while signing the marriage contract to determine the method of distribution of the funds in case of death of any of them.
Article 16 is about Equality between Males and Females in Rights and Obligations.
For the implementation of the provisions of this Law, equality between men and women in the rights and obligations should be taken into consideration, this shall apply to the matters like Testimony, Inheritance, Right to effectuate Divorce, Joint Custody of the child in case of divorce until the age of 16 years old.
Here are the simple steps to get married under the new civil marriage law in Abu Dhabi:
•Non-Muslim marriage certificates can be downloaded through the below link
•Fill & submit the form with required documents, either by electronic mail firstname.lastname@example.org
•Or through one of the typing centers available in shopping malls in Abu Dhabi.
•The court will provide the couple with a date for the marriage ceremony.
•The couple shall visit the court on the specific scheduled date by the courts to sign the marriage certificate, then the couple will get an original stamped copy the same day.
The whole process should not take more than 10 minutes.
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