In accordance with the UAE’s Shariah law principles that regulate the arena of Family Law, certain procedures must be undertaken in order for a valid marriage contract to be terminated. For Muslims in the UAE, there are two pathways to divorce and we will cover the first one here:

  • The divorce can be commenced by the husband or by the wife if her husband gave her the right to do so in the marriage contract.
  • If the wife is not given the right to divorce the husband within her marriage contract, she may still do so for reasons of ‘harm’. These will be outlined in a future email.
  • The first route to obtaining divorce is by pronouncing the ‘Talaq’ – which means “I divorce you” in Arabic.
  • The husband or wife must say or write ‘Talaq’ in the presence of a witness, who could then be called upon to give evidence in court if a dispute arises at a later point about the existence of the Talaq.
  • While religiously, divorce is effected at the point the Talaq is recounted, for legal purposes a document must also be filed with the courts registering the divorce. As Article 106 of the Personal Status Law extrapolates: “divorce is considered valid when…the judge authenticates it”.
  • It’s important to note that there could be financial implications for any partner who commences a divorce and pronounces a Talaq without the consent of their spouse.