How To Get Married In UAE? Non-Muslim Personal Status Court in Abu Dhabi: An Overview
Following the opening new non-Muslim Personal Status Court in Abu Dhabi last year, non-Muslims in the UAE now have the option of getting married in a civil ceremony. Under Law No. 14 of 2021 on Non-Muslims Personal Status in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, released in November 2021, a specialized family court for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi regulates personal status cases such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody.
Previously, non-Muslims could only marry in a religious ceremony; now, the new rule permits a non-Muslim man and woman to marry as a civil contract without having to go through a religious ceremony.
On December 27, 2021, Non-Muslim Personal Status Court in Abu Dhabi – a multilingual court conducting procedures in Arabic and English – granted its first civil marriage contract to a Canadian couple, and numerous expatriates and tourists have married at the court since then. If you are a non-Muslim couple wanting to marry in a courtroom, here is all you need to know about the civil marriage proceedings in Abu Dhabi.
What is the Legal Definition of Civil Marriage?
“A civil marriage is the valid union of a non-Muslim man and woman and is solemnized as a civil contract, without a religious ceremony,” according to the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department’s website, www.adjd.gov.ae. The civil marriage contract is governed by Articles 4 and 5 of Law No. 14 of 2021 (New Law).
Essential Features of the New Law
- The New Law allows non-Muslim ex-pats to marry or divorce according to the laws of their native countries.
- A religious ceremony, a guardian’s [permission], or a medical exam are no longer required for a couple to marry.
- The marriage application is approved by a notary public or judge, who then produces a digital certificate.
- Couples can file a marriage contract (prenuptial agreement) under the Law if they choose.
Civil Marriage Requirements
If the following requirements are satisfied, civil marriage is declared:
- 1. Age: The husband and wife must be at least eighteen (18) years old, as evidenced by any official document issued by the nation to which they belong.
- 2. The free will of those who seek to marry: individuals who intend to marry must declare their unequivocal permission to the marriage and that nothing in the Law prevents them from doing so.
- Eligibility: Both spouses must have the mental competence to participate.
- 4. Lack of prohibiting kinship: no marriages between brothers, children, grandkids, uncles, or aunts are permitted.
- Non-polygamy: Neither spouse is tied to any other marital connection.
- Any further requirements that the Chairman sees fit may be added.
- Applicants are not required to present a medical examination certificate before marriage, and there are no witnesses necessary.
Article 4 – Civil Marriage Contracting Conditions
The following requirements must be completed to form a Civil Marriage:
1- Both spouses must be at least 18 years old. Any official document issued by the state of their nationality must be used to verify their age.
2- Before the Authentication Judge, both spouses must express their unequivocal consent to the marriage and verify that there is no legal barrier to such a union.
3- Both spouses must sign the Declaration Form.
4- Marriages between siblings, children, grandkids, or uncles are not permitted.
5- Any other criteria imposed by the Chairman in a judgement.
Article 5 – Civil Marriage Procedural Rules
1-Submission of an application Form
A Foreigner may contract a Civil Marriage before the Department’s Authentication Judge by submitting an application using the Form that has been produced for this purpose while considering the other requirements and procedures stated in this Law. Before getting married, the foreigner must provide a medical certificate.
2- Consent of Both Parties to a marriage
Before the Authentication Judge, both spouses must fill up the Form created for this reason. Both couples may agree on the contract’s terms and must evaluate the rights granted to each spouse under the agreement during the marriage and after the divorce.
3- Disclosure of Previous Marriage Relationship
Any past marital relationship between the couples must be disclosed in the marriage contract’s Form. They must also provide the date of the divorce and evidence that no marriage relationship exists.
4- Civil Marriage Contract to be issued in two languages
The Form of the Civil Marriage Contract shall be provided in two languages, as determined by the Chairman or his agent.
5- Verification and Registration of Marriage Contract Form
The Authentication Judge shall confirm the marriage contract and enter into the Register designed for this purpose after ensuring that:
- all of the prerequisites for contracting a Civil Marriage have been satisfied and,
- the processes outlined in this Article have been completed.
The following documents must be supplied to get a marriage application approved:
- A marriage application that is filled out and signed.
- A copy of your passport or Emirates identification card
- Proof of divorce if previously married:
- A copy of the death certificate must be produced in the case of a spouse’s death.
- A copy of your divorce certificate if you are divorced.
iii. A copy of the court order if a prior marriage was ruled invalid.
- Consent to marry (optional).
How May Dubai Court Marriage Assist You?
However, the new regulation solely applies to non-Muslims and nations that do not observe Sharia law. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to talk with a legal consultant that can point you on the correct route if you don’t want to take any chances with the legitimacy of your wedding paperwork.
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