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Reasons for high divorce rate in Dubai

Dubai courts are flooded with divorce cases, with cases such as grooms abandoning brides to marital disputes, according to the statistics released by them.

The report reveals that lack of harmony is the major reason behind the increasing problems between spouses or within the family. Another major factor for the flow of divorce cases in 2016 and 2017 is money-related which involves claims for alimony; demands to get back dowry and other expenses; seeking rent or asking the husband to provide an accommodation or replace it; money to hire a maid or nanny etc.

Mousa Ghanem, head of the Family Reconciliation Section, Dubai Courts, says that confusion and lack of honesty and trust are among the main obstacles that hinder their efforts to stop couples from seeking separation.

“Negligence of the other spouse, lack of dialogue and communication and absence of trust in addition to shortcomings in spending on the wife or children are the most common divorce and separation factors.”

The reasons for marital disputes are divided into several categories in the statistics such as social, financial, psychological and hygienic, of which the social reasons are found to be compelling couples for separation.

According to the statistics, the divorce rate was the highest among the men in the age group between 30 and 34 – including 176 among foreigner couples and 79 among Emirati couples and 42 mixed couples – with 97 divorce certificates issued to them last year. When it comes to women, divorce was most common among the age group between 30 and 34 with 330 divorce certificates.

As many as 1,383 divorce certificates were issued throughout 2016.

Besides, 5,779 marital files were examined by the Dubai Courts in 2016 while 2,919 such files were received up to the end of June of the current year. There were 1,982 divorce cases over damage reasons in 2016 compared to 1,104 this year. Six cases were filed over abandonment in 2016 while two such cases were seen until the end of June in the current year.

Expatriates with Emirati or non-Emirati couples in the UAE have the option to choose between the Personal Status Law of the husband’s country or the Emirati law depending on what suits them best.

According to Article 1 of the UAE Federal Personal Status Law, the terms of this law shall apply to the foreigners unless one of the spouses insists on implementing their country’s law.

“For example, if the husband is Lebanese and he insists on his country’s law, then he should bring the relevant articles authenticated, certified and accredited, before the Shariah Court Judge. Those articles shall then be applicable to his case,” Abdel Monem Suwaidan, lawyer at Bin Suwaidan Firm for Advocacy and Legal Consultancy, Dubai, said.

Also in case of child custody, he says that , “In the UAE, the child’s custody is with the mother until a certain age (11 for the boys and 13 for the girls). After that age, the father has the right to file a lawsuit to take the custody from the mother. It is up to the discrepancy of the judge to decide on that matter based on what he deems best interest of the child.”

However, that is not the case in some other countries where after a certain age, the children’s custody go immediately to their father.

Suwaidan added: “If one of the spouses is Emirati then the UAE’s law should be applied, otherwise it is left to the couples to make up their mind. If the two spouses could not agree on which law to choose then the UAE Law should be applied.”

The legal documents should be attested by the authorities of the country of the expatriate applicant – the ministries of justice and foreign affairs in their home country and the UAE embassy there.

If any, the texts should be translated by a legal sworn translator.

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