How to Apply for Divorce in the UAE

Many people dream about getting married, starting a family, and living happily ever after. Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out for the better, and for one reason or another, some couples end up deciding to end their marriage and filing for a divorce.

ALSO READ: Guidelines on Couples Living Together in Dubai

Today’s article discusses the steps to applying for divorce in the UAE. Before anything else, be sure to check with the marriage laws in your home country first. In particular, try to verify if a divorce in the UAE would be recognized or is applicable to your situation.

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Guide to Filing a Divorce in the UAE

Like in most countries, the first step in a UAE divorce case is reconciliation. This is handled by the Family Guidance and Reformation Centre, which falls under the Department of Justice at Dubai Courts. If the couple, through the centre’s counsellors, is unable to reach an amicable settlement, the case is referred to court and thus would require the services of a law firm.

A divorce would cost around AED 10,000, inclusive of all court fees. The requirements and procedure presented below are standard for non-Muslim religions (e.g. Christian) in the UAE. (Muslim marriages are governed by Sharia law, with its own set of procedures).

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Required Documents
Both parties must prepare original and photocopies of their:

  • Passports
  • Residence ID
  • Residence visa
  • Marriage certificate attested by UAE Embassy in country where marriage was solemnized, and by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs

NOTE: Documents must be translated into Arabic by a legal translator.

How to Apply for Divorce in the UAE 1


  1. File a divorce petition to your spouse (directly) or through a lawyer. Check with your home country embassy first for any specific requirements.
  2. Register the divorce case at the Moral and Family Guidance Section of Dubai Courts.
  3. Attend a reconciliation meeting with a counsellor at the Family Guidance and Reformation Centre. If an amicable settlement is not reached, the case will be referred to Dubai Courts.
  4. Apply for a decree nisi at the Dubai Court of First Instance and state your reasons for divorce.
  5. If your spouse agrees with the divorce petition, you can now apply for a decree absolute, which will end your marriage legally.
  6. If the judge finds your reasons and petition convincing, the divorce will be granted.

ALSO READ: Divorce Bill Approved by House of Representatives

DISCLAIMER: The above details are presented for information-sharing purposes only. To know more about applying for a divorce in the UAE, please visit the official portal of the UAE Government.

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