Dubai: Statistics revealed by the UAE Ministry of Justice has unveiled the shortest and longest marriages in the country recorded from 2017-2019.
Official data showed that during the last three years, the shortest marriage – which happened to be registered in Khor Fakkan Court – was between an Emirati and an expat that lasted four days. In contrast, the longest marriage was registered for 62 years, after the couple – who married in 1957 – decided to part ways in 2019.
The 2017-2019 statistics, which were categorised according to federal courts in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah, also unveiled that 2,233 divorces were granted between the three years.
According to the courts in the northern emirates, the shortest marriages in 2019 included a 10-day marriage between an Emirati couple, while a marriage between an Emirati and an expat dissolved after 19 days. Meanwhile, in 2018, the shortest marriages included a 24-day union between an Emirati couple, a 13-day marriage between an Emirati man and a female expat, in addition to a 27-day marriage between an expat couple.
Some of the longest periods of marriage included in the registry included a couple who were together for 47 years (married in 1971 and divorced in 2018), a couple who were married for 45 years (married in 1974 and divorced in 2019), as well as a couple who divorced in 2018 after being married for 43 years (since 1975).
On its website, the government portal cites UAE divorce rates amongst the highest in the region. Reasons for the high rates of divorce in the country include marital infidelity, poor communication, job loss or financial strain, social media, religious and cultural differences, and unrealistic expectations, among others.
Steps for filing a divorce in the UAE
The first step is to register the case by either party at the Family Guidance Section at the respective judicial department, in one of the emirates. A court appointed conciliator will try to reconcile the divorcing parties.
The conciliatory procedure is a mandatory process of the divorce proceedings in the UAE. Parties are allowed to raise their concerns pertaining to the marriage in the absence of their respective legal representatives.
Amicable divorces can be concluded at this stage. Parties will need to draft a settlement based on the parties’ mutual understanding and sign it before the conciliator.
If one of the parties or both of them are determined about the divorce, then the conciliator will provide the claimant with a referral letter, permitting them to proceed before the court to conclude their divorce case.
The letter can be submitted to court at any time within three months from the date of issue. Once in court, the particulars of the divorce case fall at the court's discretion and each party has to provide evidence to support own claims against one another as well as in their own defence.
Divorce laws for Muslim couples
Islamic marriages are governed by Sharia law. If both husband and wife are Muslims and residents in the UAE, Sharia/UAE law will most likely be applied to their divorce. The same is likely if the husband is a Muslim and the woman a non-Muslim.