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Live in relationship and pregnancy outside marriage decriminalised in UAE

Live in relationship and pregnancy outside marriage decriminalised in UAE

With the changing nature of society and increasing expats hailing from different countries, the UAE government has made significant changes relating to the laws of unmarried couples living together. UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Al Nahyan has ratified a new Federal Crime and Punishment Law to give effect to the same.

Prior to this amendment, the UAE government has adopted a very stringent approach toward the concept of live-in relationship. The couples who desired to stay together in a hotel need to demonstrate their marriage certificate. But  now, the UAE government has adopted a favourable approach toward individual autonomy and allowed the couples to live together without any legal restrictions.

In addition to this, the child conceived outside the wedlock will be considered legitimate and will be cared for. However, it is an obligation on the part of the couple to marry or singly or jointly acknowledge the child. Further, the parents also need to provide the identification papers and other travel documents in accordance with the law of their local country. If the couple failed to do so, they will be subject to criminal punishment i.e., jail term of 2 years for both the correspondents.

However, it is pertinent to note that the couple residing in an extra marital relationship can be punished with an imprisonment of not more than 6 months, If a complaint has been instituted by the husband or the guardian. The husband or the guardian also have the right to waive the complaint including the execution of the penalty.

Further,  the couple residing together must be above the age of 18 years. In the new law, cohabitation with a minor in the pretext of consensual relationship is strictly prohibited and will attract harsh and severe criminal punishments.

In the new law, the provisions relating to the protection of women and workers have been enhanced. If a person commits the heinous offense of rape, he will be subject to life imprisonment, which can be extended to death penalty, if the victim is below the age of 18 years.

The law also deals with indecent assault on adults of both genders, which attracts both civil and criminal punishment. The accused person will not only be subject to a fine of AED 10,000 but he will also face a jail term of not less than 6 months.  Further, if the perpetrator has used any force during the commission of the offense, he shall be punished with an imprisonment of a term ranging between 5 to 20 years.

In short
The relaxation in hardcore Islamic law and decriminalisation of consensual relationship outside wedlock can be understood as a progressive step to make UAE a convenient destination for the investors and tourists belonging to different parts of the globe. The law also provides for the protection of the child resulting from such relationships. This law will come into force from 2nd January, 2022.

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