Personal Status Law for Non-Muslim Foreigners in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

A new civil personal status decree has been introduced in the emirate of Abu Dhabi by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan “May God have mercy on him”, President of the UAE and the Ruler of Abu Dhabi. This personal status decree had been applied for non-Muslim foreigners based in Abu Dhabi in matters of marriage, divorce, Will, inheritance, and custody of children.


According to the new Civil Personal Status Decree had been issued on Sunday, November 7, 2021, by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Non-Muslim residents in Abu Dhabi will be allowed to marry, divorce and get joint child custody under civil law. Also Non-Muslim who got married in Abu Dhabi court and their marriage certificate has been issued by Abu Dhabi court.

This law aims to make an easy and accessible approach for Non-Muslim expatriates and allows them to avoid a complicated process and provide hassle-free legal proceedings. In addition, the law provides equal rights for both genders – especially to females – in testimony, marriage, divorce, estate, and custody of the child without any differentiation. 

The new personal status law will be applicable for Non-Muslim foreigners based in Abu Dhabi. If a foreigner does not wish to apply their home county law then this law will be applied in marriage, divorce, will, inheritance, and custody of child matters. The matter will be heard by a single judge. The new court will be established under this law and the court will work in Arabic language with an English translator and Non- Muslim judges can be appointed for judgeship.

For Proceeding with a Divorce, a foreigner can approach the court and demand the divorce without justifying a reason for the divorce and putting blame on the other party. Divorce matters will not be referred to the family guidance for reconciliation. Rather, it will be registered straight in the court and will be decided in the first session after notification of the other party.


Maintenance, the court will order for alimony to the wife according to the length of the marriage, age of the wife, economic status of the spouse, children’s ages… etc. If the ex-wife get marriage after her divorce from her ex-husband, the alimony right that she gets by the court decision will be terminated after her new marriage.


Child Custody, based on the new decree, both the wife and husband shall have equal rights in the custody of the children. If any differences arise about children custody, then the court will decide the matter.


This decree already in place.


Written by:

Mr. Mohammad Salah

CEO / Dubai – UAE


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