x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Woman sues father so she can marry

An Emirati woman is suing her father because he has not given her permission to marry her would-be husband.

DUBAI // A 27-year-old woman is suing her father to drop his guardianship of her, which allows him to approve or reject her marriage.

MM, a university faculty member, said her father had rejected a Turkish man whom she loved and who had asked for her hand in marriage.

MM's family has not met the man, AB, a flight attendant, but knows his name, which indicates he is not an Emirati or a Muslim, records show.

According to Islam, an unmarried virgin may only marry with the consent of her guardian, who can be her father or a close blood relative. Otherwise, the marriage is void.

However, the UAE's personal status law allows a woman to drop her guardian. Article 30 of the law says that if a guardian prevents the marriage of any woman 18 or older, she can take the matter to a judge, who will become her de facto guardian - and will decide whether to approve the marriage. The judge's decision takes into account the fiance's health, financial, social and educational status, as well as whether he has a criminal record. Those factors will determine whether he matches the woman's stature.

MM did not attend the first hearing at the Muslim Personal Status Section at Dubai Civil Court of First Instance. Her father, MA, was present.

MA, a businessman and an Armed Forces retiree, tried to talk his daughter out of the lawsuit, but she ignored him and moved out of the family's villa in Al Rashidiya area, records show. MM's sisters and mother also attempted to persuade her to drop the case against her father but she declined.

The family said several "qualified" men had come forward to ask for MM's hand in marriage, but she rejected all of them, records show.

The case continues.