Untangling the intricacies of divorce in the UAE can be a daunting and difficult journey, but we’re here to help you figure things out!

From understanding the reasons that could lead to such a decision, to delving into the legal grounds and procedures involved, this article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to navigating the path of divorce in this region of the UAE!

Common Reasons For Divorce In The UAE 


Infidelity is one of the most common reasons for divorce when it comes to the UAE.

Privacy laws are stringent in the UAE, and this repression has sometimes made people more inclined towards infidelity.

Gulf news reported that one in five people had acknowledged their cheating, and around six per cent of the women interviewed also reported infidelity.

A large number of expats in the UAE come here for job opportunities, so without their families here, it becomes the perfect recipe for infidelity.

Lack Of Communication 

Lack of communication is another big reason for divorces.

When expat couples or Emirati couples do not talk about their issues, it leads to differences and, ultimately, divorces.

Coming from a different country, partners need to communicate much more when they move to a newer place so that matters can be resolved through dialogue.

Divorce in UAE 1

Religio-Cultural Differences 

Moreover, the UAE has people from over 200 different nationalities, so marriages between people of different religions and cultural backgrounds are widespread, which can sometimes be why it’s difficult for people to adjust after marriage, leading ultimately to a breakdown in marriage.

The UAE may seem very strict regarding specific rules and regulations.

So when expats arrive in this country for work from various countries, they find it difficult to adjust to life here in the UAE, which leads to more issues at home and, ultimately, divorce. 

Unrealistic Expectations 

Unrealistic expectations can also kill your marriage.

Suppose anyone of the partners has misplaced expectations or unfair demands from the marriage or their partner.

In that case, it will put significant strain on the couple and end up with arguments and, ultimately, divorce.

For most expats, life is hard for the first couple of months of shifting to the UAE due to job pressure and the pressure of shifting to a new country.

If, during this period, any of the partners have unrealistic expectations of the UAE and the society here, this can lead to regrets, arguments and divorce.

Financial Health 

Financial habits can also result in differences, arguments and divorce in the UAE.

If one of the partners has a habit of spending more than the other and racks up a lot of debt, then it is a cause for concern and shows that both partners do not divide the responsibility of sustainable living.

These spending habits, coupled with a sudden loss of a job, can amplify the fights, and if this behaviour is sustained, it usually ends up in a divorce. 

Legal Grounds For Divorce In The UAE

There are a few reasons for divorce that have legal precedence.

Adultery is a serious offence and can be pursued in a court and, if proven in the court, will result in the dissolution of the marriage.

Physical and mental abuse also has solid grounds for a divorce; however, there should be medical records and witnesses for the petitioner to persecute the abuser.

If this is proven in court, the law of UAE calls for immediate divorce.

Desertion is another valid reason for divorce.

If one of the partners leaves the marriage for some time, which is for a year or two, then the other partner can file for divorce with legal precedence. 

Process Of Getting A Divorce In The UAE 

The courts are very efficient in the UAE, hence getting a divorce is not difficult at all, and the whole process often takes just a month.

That is if the divorce is mutual and neither of the parties has to provide evidence for a legal reason.

The first step is called conciliation.

In this stage, both parties present documents like passports, marriage certificates and contracts because they are to reach a settlement or settle their differences.

This stage, by law, is required to last only three months. However, it often takes more time than that. 

If both parties cannot settle, the case will go to the First Instance Court, where the defence will reply to it after filing the divorce.

This process is the lengthiest one because it might take a lot of time for the judge to listen to the statements and conclude about it.

Also, the cases will be conducted and heard in Arabic, from the documents to the statements.

However, for expats, the court will provide a translator.

After the verdict has been announced, any of the parties can appeal the decision within 28 days in an appeals court, for which the process is the same.

However, the only difference is that three judges chair it.

After this process, the case will move to the court of cessation, where no new evidence will be presented except material and proceedings from earlier cases.

Lastly, the case goes to the enforcement court, where verdicts are final, and the court makes sure that both parties comply with the agreements and settlements. 

Things To Consider When Getting A Divorce In UAE

Custody Of Children 

Under UAE Law, Custodianship and Guardianship are two different things.

The law in the UAE clearly states that the mother is the custodian of the children for day-to-day activities, while the father is the guardian and financier of the child.

In addition, the mother must prove that she is rational, sane and ready to raise a child.

She can’t also remarry without the court’s approval.

If the father is granted the custodianship, he must show that he has a woman at home who can care for the child.

A mother, under UAE Law, can always choose to extend the custody period with the court until their child marries or graduates.

Similarly, a man can ask for custody of the child if he feels that the child’s upbringing is too soft. However, this is very difficult to prove in court.

The guardian also has visitation rights, which often means that they can visit their child once or twice a week

Spousal Maintenance

Under UAE Law, the man has to pay for his ex-wife’s financial needs and support his children with food, clothing and other needs.

He will also need to cover the financial costs of his ex-wife’s house help. The man will also pay for the educational needs of his children.

However, the total spousal maintenance money cannot exceed more than 30% of the total income

Property Division

Property division under the UAE Law means that all the properties, businesses and cars will be divided among the parties depending on what is in their name.

Additionally, a judge will divide joint bank accounts however he deems fit.

Judges in the UAE are known to assign the home to the custodian since it allows the children to feel more comfortable while their parents go through a divorce. 

Cost Of Getting A Divorce In The UAE 

The cost of getting a divorce depends on the length of the divorce process and if both parties agree to the divorce without dragging it to the court.

Usually, as an expat, you can be sure to shell out anywhere between AED 8,000 to AED 25,000.

However, if the process drags on and on and the parties have difficulty reaching an agreement, you can expect a fee of AED 50,000 and above, depending on how tedious the litigation process is.

Moreover, since the case is heard in Arabic and the documents have to be translated into Arabic, there are additional costs, like the translation of the documents. This usually costs AED 80 per document


We understand that every divorce story is as unique as the individuals involved.

This article is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a guide to help you navigate the labyrinth process of divorce in the UAE.

Whether you’re faced with the difficult task of property division or seeking a fresh start, remember to consult with a professional legal team to help tailor solutions to your personal circumstances.

We hope this information will help serve as a helpful compass on your journey!