Federal personal status law
Federal Decree Law No. 29 of 2020 (PDF, 500 KB) amending certain provisions of the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 concerning Personal Status (Personal Status law) governs personal affairs such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc.
Non-Muslim UAE nationals
The provisions of this law apply to all UAE nationals unless non-Muslims have their own provisions applicable to their religion and sect.
The provisions of this law apply to non-UAE nationals unless they adhere to their native laws, subject to the provisions of Articles 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 27 and 28 of the Federal Law No. 5 of 1985 of the Civil Transactions Law of the UAE, as amended.
Abu Dhabi Personal Status Law for non-Muslims
Abu Dhabi has issued a law No. 14 of 2021 concerning personal status for non-Muslims foreigners (PDF, 1.84 MB), to regulate personal status matters for non-Muslims in the emirate and provide a flexible and advanced judicial mechanism for the determination of personal status disputes amongst non-Muslims.
The law consists of 20 Articles divided into several chapters covering civil marriage, divorce, joint custody of children and inheritance. The first chapter of the law regulates the marriage procedures of foreigners before the court by introducing the concept of civil marriage based on the will of both, the man and the woman.
The second chapter defines the divorce procedures for non-Muslims, the rights of the spouses after divorce and the discretion of the judge in assessing the financial rights of the wife based on several criteria, such as the number of years since marriage, the wife's age, the economic standing of each of the spouses and other considerations that the judge takes into account in determining the wife's financial rights.
The third chapter provides for the custody post the divorce which will be done in a way that will safeguard the family's cohesion after divorce and preserve the psychological health of the children.
The fourth chapter addresses inheritance issues, the registration of wills for non-Muslims, and the right of a foreigner to draw up a will to bequeath all his/her property to whomever he/she wishes.
The fifth chapter of the law regulates the proof of paternity for non-Muslim foreigners, by either marriage or recognition of paternity.
Read related news coverage on WAM.