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Dubai: If you are a couple living in the UAE, you may be interested in knowing more about the recent amendments that have been made to laws in the country, governing the legal status of consensual relationships, as well that of a child born to an unmarried couple. Gulf News spoke with legal experts who explained – in detail – what the amendments are and how the law would view such situations.

“Recently, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has approved a wide-ranging reform of the country’s legal system aiming at developing the legislative structure in various sectors, notably the ratification of a new and updated Crime and Punishment Law in force as of January 2, 2022,” Amany Ahmed, Associate in the Litigation Department at BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP told Gulf News.

Amany Ahmed, Associate in the Litigation Department at BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP


“The law decriminalises consensual relationships out of wedlock and provides that any child conceived out of these relationships is considered legitimate and will thus be legally recognised and cared for. However, in that case, the law requires the couple to either marry or singly or jointly acknowledge the child. The parents are also required to provide identification papers and travel documents as per the laws of the country of one of the parents. If the parents fail to abide by the above, they will be subject to a prison term of two years following a criminal case to be introduced against them,” he added.

Hari Wadhwana, an Associate at Dubai-based law firm OGH, provided further details of Article 410 of the Federal Law No. 31 of 2021, which deals with the issue of consensual relationship and a child born out of wedlock.

Hari Wadhwana


“The law provides that the criminal action can be avoided in following events: If the man and woman marry each other or if both or either of them acknowledge the existence of the child and raise the child by giving its name, nationality and providing appropriate documentation,” he said.

“Therefore, the law … provides means to remedy the act by either getting married or raising the child, either jointly or individually, by giving [him or her a] name and [providing] appropriate documents,” he aded.