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Financial Rights in UAE Family Law Matters

Jessica Ann Flint, Byron James, Andrzej Bojarski, and Hassan Elhais

Under current laws governing family matters in the UAE, Financial Rights will vary based on the religion of the parties, the application of any foreign law (if requested by the parties), and whether or not the parties are married.

Background on Family Law in the UAE. Until February 2023, personal status matters were governed by Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 Personal Status Law, along with some supporting provisions from the Civil Transactions Law of 1985 and its amendments. However, as part of making the UAE more attractive for foreigners, the government has put forward an altogether separate law, which is based on internationally accepted practices and customs in terms of Family Laws. The new Federal Decree-Law, No. 41 of 2022, came into force on 1st of February 2023, and has followed the provisions of the previously enacted Abu Dhabi Law No. 14 of 2021 on Civil Marriage and its Effects in Abu Dhabi. Family matters for non-Muslims, including marriage and divorce, will now be governed by these laws; meanwhile, the Personal Status Law of 2005 will continue to govern Muslims in the UAE.