Divorce In Dubai: when international divorce cases become complicated

Dubai cityscape ex-pat divorce

Moving to a new country to live and work offers many of us with opportunities simply not available at home and is part of being a global world. However, we are also moving into a whole new judicial system with laws and procedures often quite different to English law, especially when it comes to divorce.


Choosing a jurisdiction

Laws regarding divorce differ depending on your country of residence. If you are living in the UAE, for example, but both originate from the same country, you can make a choice regarding which country to initiate divorce proceedings in. However, if you don’t share the same nationality, the law of the husband’s home country is regarded as the jurisdiction to follow, with any gaps in the procedure covered by UAE law.

This choice of jurisdiction can have significant consequences on the final rulings. As shown by the recent Lachaux case, once one country has granted a divorce, it is likely to be upheld elsewhere. If one of you decides you don’t like the outcome, trying to obtain a divorce in a different country is unlikely to turn out favourably either.

Contemplating divorce proceedings and are living or working abroad? Call us at LGFL to book a free 30-minute consultation via phone or Skype, and we’ll talk through your circumstances and options. We aim to offer you an appointment within 48 hours of your enquiry, subject to availability.


Financial settlements: the differences between the UK and the UAE

One of the key factors to consider when deciding upon the best country in which to file divorce proceedings are your financial assets. The UAE, for example, generally awards financial assets back to the person with legal ownership. This means that if a property is held in one person’s name, they will remain the sole owner when the divorce is finalised, not split between the couple or considered in any financial settlement. This leads to many parties to consider what is known as “jurisdiction shopping”.

Child custody

Custody of children can also be an issue. The UK will always look at what is in the best interests of each child. However, the UAE has definite rules about custody. Parental responsibility is not shared, and each parent has defined roles. Custody is granted to the mother until the age of puberty, 11 for a boy and 13 for a girl.

The mother will usually be made the custodian of the children, responsible for the day-to-day upbringing. The father will be made guardian, looking after accommodation, education, and religious and moral guidance. Once the children reach puberty, the father is awarded custody, although this can be disputed.


Expert legal help for ex-pats

At LGFL Ltd, we can provide expert legal advice for expats living outside of the UK, and have the experience to help with divorces conducted across jurisdictions thousands of miles apart. Call us or email us with your circumstances, and we’ll arrange your consultation via phone or Skype, usually within 48 hours of your enquiry.