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February 23, 2017


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UAE Family Matters Q&A: Types of Divorce Under Sharia Law

Question: What types of divorce exist under Sharia law?

Answer: There are two types of divorce, revocable and irrevocable. A revocable divorce will allow the husband to cancel it at any point up until the end of the three-month Iddat, or waiting, period. After this period, if the couple wish to reconcile, they must do so by getting married. An irrevocable divorce ends the marriage as soon as it has happened. There are two types of irrevocable divorce, the irrevocable divorce with "small intent", where the divorced woman can reconcile with her husband only with a new marriage contract and dowry, or the irrevocable divorce with "big intent", where the divorced woman can return to her husband only after marrying another husband, consummating that marriage, divorcing him and waiting until the end of the Iddat period stipulated after divorce in Islam.

Question: I am a Muslim male and recently married in Asia. How should I get my marriage certificate legalised and attested, so it can be recognised in the family courts?

Answer: For a marriage that's taken place outside the UAE to be recognised in the family courts, the marriage certificate should be legalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country where it took place, and then attested by the UAE Embassy in that country. Further attestations should take place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE, and the certificate must be translated into Arabic.

In certain circumstances even a validly attested marriage certificate would not be sufficient to allow a marriage to be recognised in the UAE courts. This is because, in Islam, certain marriages are not capable of recognition. For example, a marriage between a Muslim man and a woman who is not Muslim, Christian or Jewish or a marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man.

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