On the 1st of February changes in the United Arab Emirates came into effect which will allow non-Muslim couples to get divorced there. Previously the system was based on Sharia law and there were restrictions on the remedies that were available to a spouse on divorce. This often forced those couples to begin proceedings abroad.
The new regime, which will be more similar to the approach in non-Muslim jurisdictions, will allow for the payment of ongoing maintenance and capital sums in lieu of maintenance.
There have also been changes to the law relating to marriages. It is no longer necessary for a bride's father to provide consent before a marriage can take place, nor is it a requirement that a minimum number of Muslim males be in attendance at the wedding.
These changes continue the modernisation of the laws in the UAE and officials have confirmed that they want to ensure the law provides for all residents, regardless of faith or background.
If you are considering getting married, or divorced, in the UAE should first take independent legal advice to understand the possible implications.
New family law for non-Muslim residents comes into effect today