Overview to divorce through the Dubai courts
In Dubai, divorce is either governed by the parties' personal law which may be the law of their nationality or their Country's Sharia law, if Muslim. In the event of a dispute as to which law should apply, the laws of the husband’s nationality at the time of the marriage, would apply. It should be noted that determining the appropriate law to be applied may be complex and the Dubai Court may decide not to apply non Sharia law. If the wife is a Muslim and the husband is not, the marriage may be deemed to be an illegal relationship and held to be null and void.
Once you have sought legal advice and it has been mutually agreed that the parties wish to proceed with a divorce through the Dubai Courts, the parties will need to attend the Moral & Family Guidance Section at the Dubai Courts, 5th Street, Garhoud, Dubai to initially see a Counsellor.
At the Moral & Family Guidance Section, you will need to provide copies of your ID (ie. passport or ID) and your marriage certificate translated & attested (if there are children, you will need their birth certificates translated and attested). Ideally both parties should be resident in UAE as they will need to attend the Court however in some cases, the divorce may be able to proceed if the party who is not in Dubai consents to the same or gives a Power of Attorney for an advocate to deal with the divorce.
In the event that the Counsellor is unable to assist the parties reach an amicable settlement, he will ask the parties to come back and see him with a settlement agreement. Our Legal Consultants in the Family Department have vast experience in drafting such agreements and can assist you to liaise with your spouse with a view to agreeing the contents of the agreement. Considerations in the agreement can include, maintenance for the wife, maintenance for the children, arrangements for the children including contact and travel, divisions of assets and property.
Overview to Divorce through the UK COURTS
If you decide that you want to divorce in UK, you should be aware that you can not apply for a divorce until you have been married for at least one year. This is an absolute bar. You must ensure that you have your original marriage certificate as this will need to be filed at Court with the Divorce Petition at the time of issuing.
With regards to the Divorce Petition, you must be able to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and rely on one of the facts stated in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. We can assist you to draft the Petition and file it at Court. Once issued by the Court, it will need to be served on your spouse. We will advise you on the various methods of service and the various procedural steps to complete the divorce.
You will also need to consider various other factors during the process including issues pertaining to children and the family finances. There may be jurisdiction issues to consider and we are here to provide you with informed advice on the relevant issues.
Choosing to get divorced is a huge decision to make let alone having the extra worry of deciding the best Jurisdiction for you to divorce in. Taking into consideration the relevant facts of your case, we can assist you in making an informed decision as to whether you should divorce through the Dubai Courts or the Courts in UK.
If you would like more information whether in respect of family proceedings in Dubai or UK, please do get in touch with the Family Law Department.
Head of Family
Senior Legal Consultant / Solicitor (UK)
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