Divorce Procedure

  1. For the purpose of initiating divorce case in Dubai, either parties having interest can register the case at the Moral & Family Guidance Section in Dubai Courts (“Family Section”).
  2. For completing the registration procedure, the following original documents (and copies) will be required for both parties (1) passports (2) Emirates ID (3) Residence visas (4) Marriage Certificate translated and legalised upto the UAE embassy.
  3. On Completion of registration process, a date will be fixed whereby the couple will be asked to attend a reconciliation meeting with a conciliator at the Family Section. This conciliatory procedure is a mandatory process for divorce proceedings in the UAE.
  4. Amicable divorces can be concluded at this stage, the parties will have to sign a Settlement Agreement before the conciliator. This settlement can contain terms and conditions mutually agreed upon by the parties, and it does not necessarily require compliance with the UAE laws or Sharia.
  5. If no settlement has reached between the parties (either party insists on divorce), the case will be forwarded to the Dubai Courts. The conciliator will provide the claimant/ parties with a referral letter that shall permit them to proceed before the court to conclude their divorce case.
  6. This referral letter can be submitted by either party to the court within three months from the date of its issue. Once referred to court, the specifics of the divorce case will be in accordance with the court’s discretion, and the parties will have to provide the requisite evidence to support their claims against one another or for their defence.
  7. Non-Muslims may ask for the laws of their home countries to be applied in their cases. This is permissible under Article 1 of Federal Law No. 28 of 2005
  8. If the husband and wife have different nationalities, then the situation may be slightly complicated, as the laws favour the application of the laws of the husband’s country to be upheld, pursuant to Article 13 of Federal Law No. 28 of 2005
  9. With reference to custody of minor children the custody is generally awarded to the mother (unless the mothers incompetency is proved) till the male child attains 11 years of age and the female child 13 years, unless the court decides to extend this period for the beneficial interest of the children. This is in accordance with Article 13 of Federal Law No. 28 of 2005.