A historic law that would expedite the marriage process for non-Muslim expats and non-Muslims residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) went into force on February 1. The UAE’s court system underwent a significant legislative makeover, as the previous regulations mandated that non-Muslim couples get married and divorced in accordance with Sharia law.
However, family-related issues including marriage, divorce, inheritance, wills, child custody, and paternity will be covered without reference to Sharia law under the new Personal Status Law for non-Muslims.
Even though the rules in the UAE vary from the laws in their own country, expatriates formerly had to follow Sharia law in order to be married or file for divorce.
The reforms were first approved by the late UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on 27 November 2021. Out of the seven emirates, only Abu Dhabi adopted the new reforms in November last year but now the law will be extended to all the seven emirates including Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah.