Eligibility of Indian Expat Couples to File for Divorce in UAE Courts

As a non-Muslim Indian expatriate residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you may find yourself facing complexities when it comes to divorce proceedings. The legal landscape in the UAE allows for the application of both the recently enacted UAE Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims and the respective personal laws of India, under which you were married. This article delves into the eligibility of Indian expat couples to file for divorce in UAE courts.

Relevant Laws

In the UAE, the legal framework governing personal status matters for non-Muslims includes Federal Decree-Law No. 41 of 2022 on Civil Personal Status, Federal Law No. 28 on Personal Status as amended by Federal Decree Law No. 8 of 2019, Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2020, and Federal Decree Law No. 29 of 2020. These laws provide a foundation for non-Muslim expatriates to address marital issues within the country.

Choice of Law

Non-Muslim individuals who are residents in the UAE have options when it comes to pursuing divorce. They may choose to apply the provisions of the recently enacted UAE Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims. Alternatively, they can opt to invoke their respective religious laws under which they were married. This choice allows individuals to align the divorce proceedings with their personal beliefs and practices.

UAE Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims

According to Article 1(1) of the UAE Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims, the law applies to non-Muslim citizens of the UAE and non-Muslim foreigners residing in the country, unless they invoke the application of their respective religious laws. This means that non-Muslim Indian expatriates have the option to utilize their Indian personal laws when dealing with matters of divorce, custody, and alimony, provided they fulfill certain conditions.

Applicable Indian Personal Laws for Non-Muslims

Non-Muslim Indian expatriates residing in the UAE can apply their respective Indian personal laws based on their religious community when seeking divorce, alimony, and child custody. Below are the applicable laws for different Indian religious communities:

  1. Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists can utilize the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 to address issues related to divorce, alimony, and child custody. The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act of 1956 govern the guardianship of a minor child.
  2. Indian Christians can use the Indian Divorce Act of 1869 to resolve matters concerning divorce, alimony, and child custody.
  3. Parsis can apply The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936 for addressing divorce, alimony, and the custody of a minor child.
  4. Indians married under the Indian Special Marriage Act of 1954 can use the same law to deal with divorce, alimony, and child custody. This act is suitable for those who do not wish to marry under specific religious laws or when both parties belong to different religions (except if one party is Muslim).
  5. Indians married outside India under the Indian Foreign Marriage Act of 1969 may apply the Indian Special Marriage Act of 1954 to address issues related to divorce, alimony, and child custody.

Recognition of Foreign Judgments

To ensure the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in India and the UAE, certain conditions must be met:

a) The judgment must be pronounced by a Court of competent jurisdiction.

b) The judgment must have been given on the merits of the case.

c) The judgment should not be founded on an incorrect view of international law or a refusal to recognize the law of India in applicable cases.

d) The judgment should not be obtained in proceedings that are opposed to natural justice.

e) The judgment should not have been obtained through fraudulent means.

f) The judgment should not sustain a claim based on a breach of any law in force in India.


For non-Muslim Indian expat couples to file for divorce in UAE courts, alimony, and child custody, it is crucial to understand and apply the appropriate Indian personal laws based on their religious community. Moreover, while seeking recognition of foreign judgments in India and the UAE, adherence to the specified conditions is necessary to ensure their enforcement.

How divorce lawyers at HHS Lawyers may assist?

Are you a non-Muslim Indian expatriate facing divorce-related issues in the UAE? Look no further than HHS Lawyers for expert assistance tailored to your specific needs. Our seasoned team of divorce lawyers understands the intricacies of UAE Personal Status Laws for Non-Muslims and the diverse Indian personal laws applicable to different religious communities.

Comprehensive Legal Consultations

With our comprehensive legal consultations, we take the time to understand your unique circumstances, ensuring you make informed decisions. Our expertise allows us to guide you through the maze of laws, helping you choose the most appropriate Indian personal law for your case.

Handling All Aspects of Divorce Proceedings

Rest assured, we handle all aspects of divorce proceedings, from preparing and filing petitions to representing you in court. Our focus extends to alimony and child custody matters, safeguarding your rights and interests every step of the way.

Negotiations and Mediation

If amicable solutions are viable, we strive for negotiations and mediation to reach favorable settlements, saving you from lengthy court battles.

Recognition of Foreign Judgments

In complex cross-border cases, we ensure foreign judgments are recognized and enforced in both the UAE and India.

Continuous Legal Support

At HHS Lawyers, we stand by your side throughout the entire process, providing continuous legal support, addressing concerns, and alleviating the stress associated with divorce proceedings.

Steadfast Advocacy

Count on our compassionate guidance and unwavering commitment to protecting your interests.

Let our expertise divorce lawyers streamline the legal complexities and secure favorable outcomes for you. Trust HHS Lawyers in Dubai to be your steadfast advocate during these challenging times. For more information and expert assistance, please contact us at HHS Lawyers today to take the first step toward resolving your divorce matters with confidence.