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April 21, 2016



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UAE Family Matters Q&A: How Soon Can a Muslim Man Remarry After Divorce?

Question: I am a Muslim man and I have recently divorced my wife. Do I need to wait for the expiry of the three-month Iddat (waiting) period before I can remarry?

Answer: In general, Iddat is given to a woman before she remarries, for three reasons: to ensure that she is not pregnant; as respect for the sanctity of marriage; and to allow couple a chance to salvage their relationship and marriage.

However, it is important to note that a husband does not need to wait for expiry of the Iddat period before he can remarry, except in some very unique and exceptional scenarios. For instance, if he intends to marry a sister of the divorced wife, in which case, he will need to wait for the Iddat to expire because a man is not allowed to be married to two sisters at the same time under the principles of Islam and Sharia.

Yet another example is when he is divorcing his fourth wife. In this case, the husband will need to wait because a Muslim man cannot have more than four wives at any given time. Since the divorce is not final until the completion of the Iddat period, a man would still legally be deemed as having four wives, so he would need to wait until the divorce becomes irrevocable before he can marry again.

Question: I am a European man and have a son from my relationship with my partner. She has now taken the baby and moved to the UAE. I live in Europe. Can I file a custody case against her in Dubai?

Answer: The issue of custody would not be decided by the UAE courts because you do not have a valid marriage certificate attested from your home country.

This rule is a part of the UAE Public Order. As a result, even if you get a court order from your country of residence, it would not be possible to have it enforced in the UAE. According to Article 235 of the UAE Civil Procedure Law, a foreign court order shall not be executed if the order contradicts the rules of UAE Public Order.

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