Marriage

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Marriage and the United Arab Emirates

For many expatriates who move to the UAE, one of the biggest cultural differences between their adopted country and their native country is the legal importance of the institution of marriage. In the UAE, it is necessary for a man and a woman to be married in order to avoid falling foul of a range of laws, including those that relate to co-habitation and sexual relations. As such, proper legal documents proving a valid marriage exists must be able to be produced. For marriages contracted outside the UAE, certain criteria should be met, including:

  • Foreign marriage certificates should be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country in which the marriage took place as well as the UAE embassy in that country.
  • Once in the country, the married couple must take their marriage certificate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for further attestation.
  • However, in certain circumstances even marriage certificates that have been properly legally attested in other countries would not be recognised in the UAE due to their lack of validity within Shariah law. For example:
    • A marriage between a Muslim man and a woman who is not Muslim, Christian or Jewish would not be acknowledged.
    • A marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man would not be acknowledged.

As outlined above, it is extremely important to be in possession of a valid, attested marriage licence if you wish to reside in the UAE and live within the bounds of normal marital behaviour. If you have a question that relates to this or any other matter of Family Law, please contact Mr. Hassan Elhais.

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