In recent years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has undergone significant legislative reforms, particularly in the realm of personal relationships and family matters. These reforms have left many individuals, like you, with questions about their legal status when living with a partner or starting a family outside of marriage. One common question that arises is whether it is illegal to get pregnant before marriage in the UAE. Let’s explore this topic in more detail.
UAE Legislative Reforms Decriminalize Consensual Sex and Pregnancy Outside of Marriage
Recent legislative reforms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have brought about significant changes in the legal landscape, particularly regarding consensual sexual activity and pregnancy outside of marriage. It is crucial to highlight that before these reforms, engaging in sexual relations with an unmarried partner was considered a criminal offense.
One of the notable amendments involved Article 356 of the UAE Criminal Code, which had historically criminalized consensual indecent acts. This provision had been used for decades to penalize various activities, including sexual relations outside of marriage, extramarital relationships, and same-sex relationships.
However, in 2020, Article 356 underwent a substantial modification that resulted in the elimination of offenses related to consensual indecency.
Legislation Concerning Parenthood by Unmarried Couples:
While the new law decriminalized cohabitation by unmarried couples, it did not address the issue of parenting by such couples. This gap was addressed by the UAE Decree Law No (31) of 2021 concerning the Penal Code, which came into effect on January 2, 2022. This new law is expected to entirely replace the previous Penal Law and introduces Article 410, which specifically addresses cohabitation and parenting by unmarried couples.
Article 410: Children Born Out of Wedlock
A new provision regarding “children born out of wedlock” has been introduced and reads as follows:
Article 410: Anyone who has sexual intercourse with a female who has completed (18) Eighteen years of age and gives birth to an incestuous child shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of no less than (2) years. The female shall be punished with the same penalty.
In all cases, a criminal case is not instituted against them if a man marries a woman or one or both acknowledge the paternity of the newborn child, and identification papers and travel documents have been extracted for him in accordance with the laws of the country to which either of them belongs by nationality, taking into account the legislation in force in the country, and this marriage or acknowledgment and the extraction of Identification papers and travel documents for the child The termination of the criminal case or the suspension of the execution of the penalty, as the case may be.
Is it illegal to get pregnant before marriage in UAE?
With the introduction of Article 410 in the New Penal Law of the UAE, unmarried couples can cohabit without the fear of facing criminal prosecution, provided that the female partner is above 18 years of age. If such a couple finds themselves expecting a child outside of marriage, they have the following options to consider:
- a) Marriage: The couple has the option to marry, thereby legalizing their relationship and establishing the official status of their child.
- b) Acknowledgment and Documentation: Alternatively, either or both partners can acknowledge the paternity of the child and ensure that the necessary identification papers and travel documents are obtained for the child. This process should comply with the laws of their respective countries and also take into account the relevant laws in the UAE.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What are the recent legislative reforms in the UAE regarding cohabitation and parenting by unmarried couples?
The recent legislative reforms in the UAE include the decriminalization of sexual cohabitation by unmarried couples and the introduction of Article 410 in the New Penal Law, which addresses cohabitation and parenting by unmarried couples.
Q2. Can unmarried couples live together in the UAE without facing legal consequences?
Yes, as of January 2, 2022, unmarried couples can live together in the UAE without facing legal consequences, provided the female partner is above 18 years of age.
Q3. What is Article 410 of the New Penal Law, and how does it affect unmarried couples?
Article 410 of the New Penal Law outlines penalties for sexual intercourse with a female above 18 years of age who has given birth to a child outside of marriage. However, it also provides an option for the couple to avoid criminal charges by either getting married or acknowledging the paternity of the child and ensuring proper documentation.
Q4. What options do unmarried couples have if they have a child outside of marriage in the UAE?
Unmarried couples who have a child outside of marriage in the UAE can choose to either get married to legalize their relationship or acknowledge the paternity of the child. They must also ensure that proper identification papers and travel documents are obtained for the child, in compliance with relevant laws.
Q5. How a mother can registers her child’s birth certificate with unknown father in the UAE?
Mother can register her child’s birth certificate by submitting the required documents to judicial authorities. She need to declare that she is the mother of the baby and submit a request to the court, as specified in Article 11 of the federal law no. 10 of 2022 regulating the registry of birth and death in the UAE.
In the UAE, it is no longer illegal to get pregnant before marriage, thanks to recent legislative reforms. The decriminalization of sexual cohabitation by unmarried couples, coupled with the provisions of Article 410 of the New Penal Law, provides legal options for couples facing parenthood outside of wedlock. Nevertheless, it is crucial for unmarried couples to be aware of the legal implications and responsibilities associated with parenthood, and to ensure compliance with the relevant laws when opting to have a child outside of marriage in the UAE..
For more information don’t hesitate to contact Dubai Court Marriage.