When an expat couple leaves the shores of England for the sunny beaches and tax free salary packages that Dubai has on offer, the idea of divorce is far away from their minds. Yet if we are honest with ourselves, we do not only pack sandals, sharp suits and cocktail dresses, we come with another type of baggage sometimes, praying that the sun will fix our marriages.
Well, as a UK and Sharia law divorce lawyer, I can tell you that the magic of Dubai fixes many things but generally not marriages. Divorce could be a daunting and frightening prospect when you are so far away from home.
In this Family law blog series, which will address both English and UAE Sharia law on divorce, I will attempt to bust the most common myths concerning divorce in each jurisdiction.
This month, let us look at the most common questions I come across on the issue of Divorce through the English and Welsh Courts for UAE expats.*
- If I am resident in Dubai, am I entitled to issue divorce proceedings in England?
Yes - Even though you are resident in the UAE, as a British citizen you are generally entitled to issue divorce proceedings in England.
- Do I need to be physically in England in order to start divorce proceedings there?
No - You and your lawyers can be based in the UAE and still start proceedings in England as long as your lawyers have a valid English practising certificate.
- If I decide to divorce in England, do I need to attend each Court hearings?
No – You can choose to be represented by a lawyer and your presence may be excused by the Court.
- My spouse is British and I am not, can I still divorce him/her through the English Courts?
Yes – As long as your spouse is a British national, you can, in general, divorce him through the English Courts. Your nationality and religion will be irrelevant.