What you need to know about the new Civil Personal Status Law

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The Civil Personal Status Law (Federal Law No. 41 of 2022) came into effect on 1st of February 2023, offering a comprehensive approach to crucial family matters such as marriage, child custody, divorce, and inheritance.

Q/ What are the provisions of marriage, divorce, inheritance, and a will for non-Muslims in the UAE?

A/ Federal Law No. 41 of 2022 civil personal status was issued, in force as of 1 February 2023, and applies to non-Muslims, whether a citizen or residents of the UAE, and the new law carries civil principles that are not derived from the principles or provisions of religions or canons, whereas, the UAE legislator established it for non-Muslims in line with the multiplicity and different canons of residents in UAE. One of the most prominent principles established by this law is the equality between men and women in inheritance and giving testimony before the courts.

Q/ Is the resident under the new law not entitled to adhere to the application of his country’s law?

A/The new law was issued with more flexible principles, in order to achieve more stability for the resident, giving him the right to adhere to the law of his country or foreign law, as the case may be, according to the following:

1. Applicability of the law of the country in which the marriage took place regarding the personal and financial effects between marriage and divorce.

2. Guardianship over the minor and the incompetent, the law of the minor’s state is applicable.

3. Inheritance The law of the inheritor’s country applies at the time of his death.

Q / What are the new civil provisions that the law has established about marriage and divorce between non-Muslims?

A/ According to the new law, a civil marriage is concluded before the documentation judge, with the two parties signing the marriage contract form. Either party has the right to set the appropriate conditions for it regarding the rights of each party during the marriage period and after divorce, and in particular the joint custody of the children. However, there are conditions that must be met by both spouses, namely:

1. Both spouses must be 21 years old. They verbally or in writing express their consent to the marriage.

2.Marriage is not between brothers, children, grandchildren, uncles.

3.Signing the disclosure and approval form as follows:

a. The spouses, a disclosure of a previous marriage, indicating the date of the divorce, if any.

b. The wife, acknowledging that there is no existing marital relationship.

C. The husband, acknowledging that there is no existing marriage if his law does not allow polygamy.

Regarding divorce, the law allows either of the spouses to request divorce without giving any reasons, and the divorce judgment is issued in the first session without the need to submit it to the Settlement Centre. Regarding alimony, it applies according to the agreement contained in the husband’s contract.

Q / What about the rights of children and who has custody of them after divorce?

A / The law took care of the child’s rights in this regard and considered the interest of the fostered child to be more deserving of protection from marital preference. It did not give them the right to custody and made it jointly between them as a common asset until the child in the fostered child reached the age of 18, after which he has the right to choose.

However, the two parties can agree on which of them is worthy of his fostered sponsor and submit a written request to that effect to the court. If there is a difference, the court shall decide on that according to what it deems best for the interest of the fostered child.

Q/ How did the law determine the distribution of the estate of the deceased, and what is the ruling on the existence of a will?

A/ The husband or wife has half of the estate, and the rest is distributed equally among the children, for the male as well as for the female.

The husband or wife has half of the estate, and the rest is distributed equally among the children, for the male as well as for the female.

The solution to the absence of children or a husband / wife, the estate is divided among the parents equally between them.

If one of the parents is not present, half of the estate shall be transferred to him, and the remainder shall be distributed equally among brothers and sisters.

In the absence of parents, husband / wife, or children, all the estate shall be distributed equally among brothers and sisters.

This article does not constitute a legal advice, but to give you a summary of the applicable laws in the UAE. For further information and legal advice, please contact us.