Over 1,000 marriages registered in Abu Dhabi's Expat Family Court

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More than 1,000 couples have tied the knot in Abu Dhabi's Expat Family Court in less than five months since the Abu Dhabi Civil Marriage Law came into force.

Over 120 nationalities have taken advantage of the service so far while 20 per cent of the applicants have been tourists who specifically flew to the UAE capital to get married.

The new court has also handled 50 no-fault divorce applications, 20 civil inheritance cases, and 250 applications for civil will attestation.

"Reaching 1,000 civil marriage registrants in less than five months is a major step forward in providing people who live and invest in the UAE with the freedom to apply liberal rules when it comes to their family affairs," said Youssef Saeed Al Abri, Under-Secretary of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD).

He added that the new English speaking expat family court is the only jurisdiction in the region to apply civil and secular rules to regulate family affairs, and it stands out not only in terms of the modern applicable laws, but also as it offers digital and bilingual court procedures.

The court statistics show that 50 cases of no-fault civil divorce applications have been filed by foreigners and non-Muslims residing in Abu Dhabi since the law was enacted in January this year.

The judgment is issued in one court session within 30 days from filing the case, without the need to submit the case to the Family Guidance, and it includes by default the joint custody of the kids.

The court automatically grants custody of the children to both parents, based on the children's best interests.

Stats also show that 20 cases of civil inheritance for foreigners have been registered since January, thanks to the simple mechanism introduced by the new law, which provides the distribution of the estate of foreigners residing in Abu Dhabi by granting the wife 50 per cent of her deceased husband's assets, and dividing the remaining 50 per cent among the children in equal shares, regardless of gender.

It only takes 30 days for the court to issue its decision on the distribution of the estate, and the whole procedure is available in English and Arabic.

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