I am non-Muslim and have been married to a non-Muslim woman for 5 years. I have a 3 year old son and a 5 year old girl. My wife is currently asking me for a divorce for no reason and if I don’t divorce her, under the new law she will file for divorce. My question, under the new law, am I required to divorce her? Does she have the right to custody of my children in the event of a divorce? Please advise.
To answer such a question, I would advise the questioner as follows:
Each spouse can apply for divorce without the need to prove the damage, according to the form prepared for this purpose, and the divorce is made by court order after notifying the other party. According to Art. 7 of Federal Law No. 41 of 2022, if one of the spouses expresses in court their desire to separate and terminate the marriage, without the need for justification to prove damage or the blame another party.
Parental responsibility for children is shared between father and mother until the child turns 18, with the right to choose one of their parents.
According to Article 10 of the new law, child custody is a right shared equally between father and mother, as well as a right for the children to be brought up by both parents in order to minimize the psychological impact of a divorce on the children.
The main rule regarding custody is that after the divorce, the father and mother have joint custody of the children, unless both parties apply to the court for custody to be transferred to whoever is able to do so achieve the best interests of the child, or one of them applies to the court for a written waiver of custody, or petitions the court to exclude the other party from joint custody on a ground recognized by the court, such as B. Incapacity, danger of custody, or the party failing to perform its duties.
In the event of a disagreement between the father and mother on a question of joint custody, each of them has the right to appeal to the court or request the intervention of the court to decide the disputed matter.
The court, in its discretion, has the power to decide what it considers to be in the interests of the foster child at the request of either parent after the divorce.
In summary, Federal Decree No. 41 of 2022 on the Civil Status of Non-Muslims offers non-Muslim residents the option to follow the laws of their home country or to choose alternative civil status laws in force in the UAE Legislative Decree. This means that if you do not wish to apply the rules of this new Law No. 41 of 2022, you have the right to apply another law.