DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (NWN) – The capital of the United Arab Emirates has issued new rules governing divorce, inheritance and child custody for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi, the country’s state-run news agency reported.
Abu Dhabi will build a new court to handle these cases, which will be conducted in both Arabic and English to be better understood by the emirate’s vast foreign worker population, WAM news agency reported on Sunday.
WAM explained that the change in child custody would allow parents to share joint custody of their children. The law also introduces the idea of civil marriage, allows the preparation of a will, which one chooses and deals with paternity issues.
Abu Dhabi is one of the seven sheikhs that make up the United Arab Emirates and the new law affects only this sheikhdom. While the oil-rich emirate is the capital of the country, the population of Abu Dhabi dwarfs the population of neighboring Dubai.
The new law comes after officials last year said they would change the country’s Islamic personal law., allowing unmarried couples to cohabit, easing alcohol restrictions and making so-called “honour killings” a crime. Abu Dhabi also abolished its liquor license system in September 2020. The United Arab Emirates in September this year announced another plan to stimulate its economy and liberalize stringent residence rules for foreigners.
Traditional Islamic values are strong in the federation. The United Arab Emirates, a genetically governed country of about 1 million emirates, has long been criticized for its suppression of dissent on the line of government. Political parties and trade unions remain illegal.