Dubai or UK Courts for Divorce: Understanding Jurisdictional Options for British Expats

Dubai or UK Courts for Divorce Understanding Jurisdictional Options for British Expats

As a British expat in Dubai considering a divorce, you may be finding it difficult to navigate through the process, or you may have questions regarding which court to use or how financial remedy matters will be dealt with. This article will give you a brief overview of the position.

Divorce Jurisdiction for British Expats

As a British expat, if you meet certain jurisdictional criteria, you can get divorced in the UK, using the courts of England and Wales. Alternatively, by virtue of having residence in Dubai, you can also use the Dubai court and the Personal Status Law to get divorced. Which jurisdiction you select will depend on various factors and our divorce lawyers in Dubai can advise you in this regard.

i) Divorce in Dubai Court

The Dubai Court deals with divorce in two ways: via the amicable route or alternatively the contested route. Using the amicable route, you can get divorced relatively quickly and cost-effectively but there needs to be an understanding between husband and wife for this to happen. You can agree on all matters including financial and children matters and have all such issues dealt with by way of an amicable settlement.

Changes in the Personal Status law of Dubai brought about a shift in the way divorces for non-Muslims are now considered. The new laws allow for no-fault divorce, together with equality as a starting point when it comes to child custody. The changes brought about are a big step towards modernizing the divorce laws for non-Muslim expats.

ii) Divorce using the Courts of England and Wales

As a British expat, you may also opt to divorce via the English court system, if you deem this appropriate and meet the jurisdictional criteria. There is now a no-fault divorce regime within the courts of England and Wales, which means you can get divorced without the consent of your spouse, and there are very few grounds upon which this can be defended.

If you opt for the Court of England and Wales you will be guided by our UK divorce lawyers in Dubai throughout the court process, you will not have to attend court in person and as far as is possible all hearings will be conducted remotely. If necessary, we have strong links with barristers in the UK whom we can appoint on your behalf.

Financial Remedy

If you choose to divorce using the courts of England and Wales, they will also have jurisdiction to deal with all financial remedy matters. English law deals with worldwide assets, in comparison to the Dubai Court which only deals with assets located within the UAE. Within English law, the division of assets is based on the needs of the parties and any children, both current and future needs are considered. All assets are considered irrespective of whose name the assets are in and there is fairness in the approach used by the court when it comes to the division of the same.

Cross-Border Custody Challenges

When it comes to children residing in the UAE, the jurisdiction for their arrangements falls under the purview of the UAE courts, determined by their residency. However, in certain circumstances where divorce proceedings have commenced within the English court, an order under English law can be obtained for children matters. It’s important to note that enforcing such an English order in the UAE may pose challenges due to jurisdictional differences.

Therefore, seeking expert legal guidance from family lawyers in Dubai is crucial to navigate these complexities and ensure the best interests of the children are upheld within the confines of applicable laws in both jurisdictions.

Related: Child Custody & Visitation

Seek help from UK Divorce Lawyers based in Dubai

The divorce journey for expats in the UAE can be emotionally taxing, requiring steady guidance and support. Having the right family law firm in Dubai by your side is essential to navigating the complexities of divorce law in the UAE with confidence.

Our friendly and approachable team of British lawyers understand the sensitivities involved and are here to provide expert assistance and information, ensuring that you feel heard, supported, and empowered throughout the process.

Contact us today to receive the compassionate guidance you deserve.

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