United Arab Emirates: UAE to lay down new divorce rules for women

Gulf News
UAE women will soon be given the right to end their marriage after petitioning the Sharia Court, paying compensation or returning the dowry to husbands.
The right known as Khulo' is enshrined in a draft Personal Status Law, approved by the Cabinet yesterday.
The draft law enables women to end unhappy marriages more easily after paying a compensation or the dowry to the husbands.

Egypt and Tunisia enacted a similar law.

The draft law contains 363 articles and is divided into five chapters on marriage, legal competence, guardianship, will, inheritance and endowment.

"The draft law includes several new rules introduced for the first time in the country including setting up of a Family Guidance Committee, compensation in cases of breaking up of engagement and condition of health fitness before marriage," Mohammad Bin Nakhira Al Dahiri, Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Awqaf, earlier told the press.

In a move designed to reduce the number of divorce cases and the subsequent negative impacts on family members, the draft law provides for the creation of family guidance committees at Sharia courts.

These committees will provide a social support system for families to resolve their differences amicably to preserve the family through counselling and mediation.

The draft also states Sharia courts will not accept a case unless it has first passed through these family-counselling offices. Certain will and inheritance-related lawsuits are exempted.

Other issues covered by the law include dowries, settlement of inheritance among children, divorce for infertility reasons and resorting to a medical commission to verify reasons for divorce.

According to the draft, wedlock shall not be made unless a report issued by a medical committee certifies that the couple are free from ailments such as mental illness, leprosy and impotence.

Originally published on 12 July 2005.