Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

UAE Family Matters Q&A: Why was my child kidnapping case request against my wife dismissed?

Which country's law is applied to a divorce case if the two parties are from different countries?

Q: I am a non-Muslim expatriate living in the UAE. My wife left the country and took our child with her. I do not know where they are now. I applied to prosecutors to have a child kidnapping case filed but my request was dismissed and I don’t know why. Any ideas why this would be the case?

A: UAE law is such that you will first need to file a child custody case on the grounds that the mother has taken the child to another jurisdiction and is not allowing you to see and supervise your child. On the basis of the custody court order, you will then have the right to apply to prosecutors to file a child kidnapping case under Article 329 of UAE Law No 3 of 1987 (the Penal Code). After getting the child kidnapping case filed you will also have the option to request for an Interpol red notice. Your initial application was most probably dismissed because you did not have a custody court order.

Q: I am Syrian and my husband is Egyptian. Both of us are living in the UAE. We want to file for a divorce here. I want my country’s law to be applied and my husband is asking for his country’s law to be applied in the divorce proceedings. Which law is applied in these circumstances when agreement cannot be reached?

A: Article 13 of the UAE Civil Code (Law No 5 of 1985) reads: “The law of the state of which the husband is a national at the time the marriage is contracted shall apply to the effects on personal status.” Therefore, Egyptian law will apply. However, it is important to note that the court has discretion to apply UAE laws if it sees fit.

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Updated: March 23, 2016 04:00 AM