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Latest Marriage, Divorce, and Inheritance Reforms by the UAE Government in February 2023

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As of February 1, 2023, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be implementing reforms to the Federal Personal Status Law, affecting the legal system for non-Muslim expatriates concerning marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance.

The main purpose of these changes is to modernize the UAE legal system. The following are the details of these new reforms.

Civil Marriage Reforms in Dubai

The new law will regulate the conditions and procedures for marrying, allowing non-Muslim couples to legally wed in a non-Sharia process. To get married, both parties must be at least 21 years of age and fill out a declaration form in front of a judge.

This law has been in effect in Abu Dhabi since February 2022, and will now be implemented UAE-wide starting from February 2023.

Divorce Reforms in the UAE

Under the new decree, either spouse can initiate a divorce, without having to prove fault or justify the need for it. Divorces may be granted after a single hearing, without the need for family guidance counseling or mediation sessions.

If the divorcing couple has children, joint and equal custody will be granted until the children are 18 years old. In the event of custody disputes, the court can take further action while considering the best interests of the child or children.

Financial alimony will be determined based on factors such as the length of the marriage, the wife’s age, and the financial status of both partners, with a female’s testimony having equal value to a male’s.

Inheritance Reforms for non Muslim in Dubai

Non-Muslims can now register their wills at the same time as their marriage certificates, allowing them to dictate who will receive their property. In the absence of a will, 50 percent of the deceased’s estate will go to the spouse, while the other half will be equally distributed among any children. If there are no children, 50 percent will go to surviving parents or siblings.


The reforms to the UAE’s family law are significant steps towards modernizing the country’s legal system and providing greater protection and support for non-Muslim expatriates.

The changes to marriage, divorce, and inheritance laws aim to simplify the process and ensure fairness for all parties involved. These efforts demonstrate the UAE’s commitment to providing a more inclusive and progressive society for its citizens and residents.

If you’re in a GCC country, including Kuwait, and want to get married, we can help you with that. Just contact us and we’ll get everything sorted out for you.

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