New UAE law to promote coexistence

Non-Muslims in the country will be getting more inclusive rights.

The UAE is literally paving the way for other nations to become more inclusive as well. A new law pertaining to the Personal Status for UAE’s non-Muslim residents is all set to come into effect from 1 February, 2023 as part of the country’s efforts to become more tolerant.

The upcoming law will develop UAE’s legislative system and support its endeavours and aspirations for the next 50 years. It will also strengthen the country as a destination for tolerance, coexistence, family stability and demographic diversity.

The new law shall offer non-Muslims in the UAE a chance to manage matters regarding marriage, divorce, inheritance, will, and proof of paternity unless any of them insists on implementing the law of their country.

“According to this law, women are granted equal rights regarding providing witness testimony, inheritance, the right to file for divorce, and joint custody of the children until they are 18 years old. Women’s testimony in court will be equal to that of a man,” says Dr Hasan Elhais of Al Rowaad Advocates.

The children’s custody is granted equally to both parents unless one parent submits a request to the court seeking to exclude the other parent based on the best interest of the child. Children will also have the right to choose between their parents.

Dr Hasan Elhais adds that civil marriage contracts are acknowledged by the new law and must meet a set of conditions that include the need for spouses to be at least 21 years old, and to give approval by filling out a declaration form in front of the judge.

To file for divorce according to the new law, one spouse must inform the court of their desire to terminate their marriage, without having to justify, explain or blame the other spouse. They can request a divorce without proving that any harm was done during their marriage. The new law also dismisses the requirement to seek family guidance in cases of divorce.

Lastly, alimony is now calculated and decided based on several factors that include years of marriage, the financial status of both spouses and the extent of how much the husband is responsible for the divorce.

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