Home » Local Press: UAE’s new family law is a defining moment

Local Press: UAE’s new family law is a defining moment

by Dubaiforum

ABU DHABI, 2nd February, 2023 (WAM) — A local newspaper has commended a string of new laws regarding family matters in recent months, saying that the UAE’s strength is that it is a nation whose residents are comprised of some 200 nationalities.

In an editorial on Thursday, the National said that the new laws in recent months – including yesterday’s announcement that a civil family court system piloted in Abu Dhabi will be rolled out across the Emirates – give further clarity to people about their legal rights and responsibilities.

The new rules for non-Muslim residents cover matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody.

The paper continued, “The overhauled procedures provide people with an accessible civil legal framework that offers a clear path ahead when it comes to these critical moments that many of us face, sooner or later.”

Based on the reforms’ popularity in Abu Dhabi thus far, it is likely they will be welcomed by millions of foreign residents across the country. Last August, The National reported that Abu Dhabi’s Civil Family Court registered 2,200 marriages from January that year – a rate of about 25 a day.

Although 12 percent of the 5,000 civil marriages registered in the emirate between December 2021 and December 2022 were between couples visiting from abroad, most involved at least one partner with residency – clearing the way for them to quickly sponsor their new spouse.

“It is not just new arrivals who will benefit from these smoother legal and social services. For those who already have residency here, this week’s news that they can reactivate their visa – even if they’ve been outside the Emirates for six months or more – will offer reassurance and allow them to plan for the future,” the daily noted.

For those faced with the difficult experience of losing their job, the UAE’s unemployment scheme for the public and private sectors that came into effect on 1st January offers an important lifeline for those who want to continue living here.

This pragmatic approach to family law, residency and social support comes at a time when more and more people are choosing to put down roots in the UAE. This week, The National reported on the rising number of Chinese citizens choosing the Emirates, the number living here having doubled to 400,000 since 2019.

The Abu Dhabi-based daily concluded by saying, “They, and the rest of the country’s foreign residents, will contribute to the economy and society, yes, but importantly they will do so knowing that a set of modern and progressive rules are there to help them in good times and bad.”

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