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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

UAE family matters Q&As: is a marriage legal if there is no written contract?

A reader asks what she is entitled in a divorce from a marriage with no contract and another asks how to attest their marriage contract in the UAE

I had a traditional marriage with my husband in our home country, however we did not sign a marriage contract. When we came to the UAE my husband began to deny the existence of our marriage, although our unwritten marriage ceremony was made in public before our families and community. Now I need to get a divorce from him, but he says that he does not want to. I also need my financial rights and alimony be duly provided but he refuses saying that I am not entitled to get that. What can I do?

Although the UAE Family Law requires marriage contract to be signed officially, article No. 27/1 of the UAE Family Law No. 28 of 2005 provides you with the right to request from the court to acknowledge or approve the marriage through a witness statement. It is expected that if the court accepts and authorizes you to bring the witnesses in order to prove the marriage, the statements of two male witnesses will be required. A judge may ask them if the guardian of the wife attended the ceremony or not, if there was a dowry or not, and if there were two male witnessing the marriage or not.

It might be important to let you know that as per the article No. 12 of the UAE Civil Law, if the marriage ceremony is valid under the laws where it took place, it might be considered valid in the UAE.

I have a marriage contract in my home country. I would like to bring it to use it in the UAE. What are the required attestation procedures to have my marriage contract recognised by the UAE authorities?

In accordance with article No. 13 of the UAE Law of Evidence, the official certificates issued from the foreign countries shall be recognized in the event of them being attested by the official body, which issued them. I have to add that as the document is issued from the foreign country it has to be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UAE embassy in the same country of origin.

When you decide to bring the document to the UAE, you have to be prepared to get it translated into Arabic, in case it was not in Arabic language initially. Such translation has to be made by the authorized legal translation agency in the UAE.

If you have a question for our legal consultant, email media@professionallawyer.me with the subject line "Family Matters".