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February 18, 2016
Question: I have received a notice from court to attend the Dubai Family Guidance Committee. What should I do?
Answer: When such a notice is received, it is strictly advised that the respondent seeks legal advice before the hearing date and makes an appointment with a lawyer of good repute to assess the effects of the claim and how he or she needs to respond. However, it should be noted that the Family Guidance Committee is not authorised, and does not carry the powers to hand down judgments without the consent of both parties, or force the other party to accept any solution. At this stage, the parties are well within their rights if they want to refuse any settlement offered by the committee.
Care should also be taken regarding the moral and cultural codes of the UAE when approaching the family guidance committee or any court in the UAE. Men and women should dress appropriately and in keeping with the cultural norms of the UAE. The Family Guidance Committee and the courts have complete discretion to disallow inappropriately dressed people from entering the court.
Question: I don't want to attend in person at the Family Guidance Committee. Can my lawyer attend instead?
Answer: Once the claimant has filed with the necessary documents, the Family Guidance committee gives a date for the hearing to the other party. At this stage of the process, the husband and the wife are required to appear in person before the committee and cannot be represented by family members or lawyers. It is the only point in the case when the parties' personal attendance is mandatory. If the other party does not attend on the hearing date, the Family Guidance Committee may grant one more date before issuing the "no objection letter" or "transfer letter" to file the family case.