In the month of November, 2021, the Personal Status Law for non-Muslims was passed by Abu Dhabi. The law allows non-Islamic people in the country to marry or divorce and to get custody of their children.
In the past, non-Islamic people in Abu Dhabi were not allowed to marry in the country. They must get married at the embassy of their country. This is the first law passed domestically regarding non-Islamic people.
Divorce and Marriage laws in the Gulf region are regulated by Islamic Sharia. Therefore, the Personal Status Law for non-Muslims is the region’s first such law that has been passed to regulate non-Islamic family issues.
Objective of the law
This law aims to provide a progressive and flexible judicial mechanism for resolving disputes over the personal status of non-Islamic people. This will help improve Abu Dhabi’s position as one of the most attractive locations to acquire talent and skills.
The newly passed law guarantees non-Islamic rights in terms of customs, culture and language. The interests of non-Islamic children are also protected. The law establishes a dedicated court for non-Islamic people which will work in both Arabic as well as English.
Features and Chapters of the law
The law consists of 20 articles with five chapters dealing with divorce, marriage, inheritance and custody.
Chapter 1 of the law changes the country’s marriage process. Introducing the concept of marriage that is protected according to the will of the wife and husband.
Chapter 2 of describes the divorce process for non-Islamic people. It lists the rights of the partners who are divorced. It also lists the financial rights of the wife after divorce. Monetary claims are based on the number of years of marriage, the age of the wife and the financial situation of each spouse and is decided by the judge.
Chapter 3 of describes custody of children after divorce and introduces joint custody concept.
Chapter 4 of this law has created the Law of Inheritance, the registration of wills. It also established the foreigners right to give his property to anyone they want.
The proof of paternity is addressed in Chapter 5. It is stated that proof of paternity of children will be based on marriage.