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Abu Dhabi Judicial Department Convenes International Forum On Civil Marriage, Divorce Procedures
(28 February 2022)


The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) has organised a remote international forum, entitled "Lights on the International Law on Civil Marriage and the Best Interest of the Family and Foreigners in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi."

The forums aimed to shed light on the implementation mechanism of the Civil Marriage and Divorce Law No. 14 ', its regulations, and the competence of the Civil Family Court to handle cases of marriage, divorce, child custody, wills and inheritance for foreigners or non-Muslim nationals covered by the provisions of this law.

In his opening speech at the Forum, Counsellor Ali Al Shaer Al Dhaheri, Director of the Judicial Inspection Division at the Judicial Department, said that the enactment of the Civil Marriage Law and its impact in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and the regulations governing all matters related to the personal status of foreigners, is intended to enhance the position and competitiveness of the Emirate as a destination for skills and experts from around the world driven by a conducive legislative and judicial environment that guarantees the enactment of justice and protection of rights.

This international forum, Ali Al Shaer added, seeks to discuss all executive procedures in accordance with the provisions of the law and regulations related to civil marriage and divorce procedures, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, to consolidate a pioneering judicial system that keeps pace with changes and developments, in line with the Abu Dhabi government's objectives to achieve global leadership.

Speaking at the forum, Dr. Lena-Maria Möller, an international expert in family law at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, noted the recent legislative developments in the United Arab Emirates, particularly those related to family and children's laws, and their role in preserving and protecting rights, which in turn has a bearing on the stability of society and the upbringing of generations in an appropriate manner.

Dr. Möller reviewed the articles of the Civil Marriage Law and its effect on the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and its regulations, with emphasis on the provisions concerning the joint custody of children after divorce, including the method of rotation and sharing of custody between the father and mother, and how to object to it if there are reasons to do so, and the cases of forfeiture of joint custody, whether temporary or permanent, if any of the cases detrimental to the interests of the child occur, with details of how to seek the intervention of the court in the event of disagreement over any decision concerning the child after the divorce.

She stressed the comprehensiveness of the said regulations, which deal with the competence of the Civil Family Court to decide on claims and disputes related to civil marriage and its effects, such as the financial rights arising out of divorce, custody of children, wills, civil succession, proof of filiation, and other issues related to the personal status of foreigners, as well as civil marriage procedures and the conditions for its conclusion, civil divorce procedures (no-fault divorce), which is based on the equal rights of both spouses to file for divorce without prejudice to the wife's financial rights in the divorce.

For his part, Dr. Ahmed Abdelzaher, legal advisor at the Technical Office of the Undersecretary of the ADJD, discussed the scope of implementation of the law and the criteria for determining jurisdiction, in accordance with the recent amendments, which stipulate that in the event that the marriage takes place in accordance with this law, the latter will be applied for all the effects of the marriage and its dissolution, as well as for the wills and inheritance of those covered by its provisions, when the bequest or money bequeathed to them is inside the country.

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