Dubai: The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) has been registering an average of 25 applications per day, or four new marriage applications per hour, since the Abu Dhabi Emirate Civil Marriage Law came into force in January this year.
According to statistics released by Abu Dhabi Civil Family Court, 95 applications for no-fault divorce and joint custody were registered in the first eight months of 2022, in addition to 820 applications for authentication of civil wills, 145 applications for proof of parentage and requests of birth certificates for foreign children, and 65 civil inheritance cases, with the launch of the “Express” civil marriage service, which allows for a marriage in just 24 hours. This is in response to the large influx of tourists from all over the world who want to enter into a civil marriage in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Youssef Saeed Al Abri, Undersecretary of the Judicial Department, stressed that the achievements made by the Family Court for Foreigners in Abu Dhabi reflect the vision of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Presidential Court, and Head of the Judicial Department, to make the Abu Dhabi Courts an unprecedented and elaborate model of family court from a modern perspective.
The enactment of the Personal Status Law for Foreigners and Non-Muslims embodies the wise vision of the country’s leaders and their commitment to develop an integrated and pioneering service system that ensures excellence and leadership at the global level, especially since Abu Dhabi stands out in the Arab region as the only city that implements civil laws for foreigners and non-Muslims in the area of personal status, Al Abri added.
He pointed out that the Abu Dhabi Courts are also distinguished by the mechanism of providing judicial services electronically, from registration to attending the hearing remotely through video conferencing, as they are paperless electronic courts, in addition to being the only bilingual court in the Arab region, where litigation procedures are carried out in Arabic and English, including claim forms and judgments, in order to guarantee the right of the foreigner to understand the litigation procedures in a simple and easy way, and without any linguistic barrier that could prevent him/her from comprehending the decisions handed down by the court.
In terms of details, statistics show that 95 cases of no-fault civil divorce applications have been filed by foreigners and non-Muslims residing in Abu Dhabi since the law was enacted in January this year, with an increase of 40 per cent over the past three months, which reflects the extent of the benefit and the difference made by this law. Indeed, the civil divorce judgment is rendered at the first hearing within 30 days after the petition for divorce is filed, without the need to submit the case to the Family Guidance.
The law has deliberately favoured this solution in order to reduce quarrels between the divorce applicants and to allow their separation without turning them into litigants with the negative effects thereof, and in order to favour the future joint role of the parents in the upbringing of the children after separation. The court automatically decides to grant custody of the children jointly to both parents, based on the best interests of the children, so as to avoid any prejudice arising from the parents’ divorce and affecting their right to proper care.
Statistics also report that 65 cases of civil inheritance for foreigners have been registered since January, with an increase of 125 per cent during the last three months, thanks to the simple and easy mechanism introduced by the new law, which provides for the distribution of the estate of foreigners residing in Abu Dhabi, by granting the wife 50 per cent of her deceased husband’s assets, and dividing the remaining 50 per cent among the children in equal shares, regardless of gender. The court issues its decision on the distribution of the estate in Arabic and English within 30 days from the date of registration of the case, in order to facilitate procedures for the heirs and to promote economic stability with regard to assets and property.