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Legal shed light on illegal pregnancy for non-Muslims in UAE Law

With the presence of more than 200 international nationalities with their diversity and diversity in terms of personal beliefs towards life, the Emirati legislator will have many tasks hanging over his shoulders. On the one hand, preserving the identity of the Arab-Islamic state of the Emirates, and on the other hand, the necessity of openness and bearing the consequences of pioneering tourist and economic destinations in the Middle East. The Emirati legislator has succeeded in achieving a legislative and legal understanding that integrates them… Our case focuses on the issue of illegitimate pregnancy in the Emirates, and children of unknown parentage as a result of those illegitimate relationships… Let us continue.

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Illegitimate pregnancy from the perspective of UAE family laws:

When is pregnancy illegal according to UAE law?

Illegal pregnancy is defined as a sexual relationship that took place contrary to or outside what the legislator stipulated and which led to a female pregnancy. This requires understanding what the legislator stipulated for the pregnancy to become legal, which is the legitimate pregnancy resulting from a legal marriage.

  • Federal Decree-Law No. 28 of 2005 regarding Personal Status regulates the issues of certificates and civil facts related to the Emirati Muslim family and Muslim residents of the UAE, and defines marriage in one of its chapters, explaining its pillars, conditions, effects, divorce, and so on. Perhaps the most prominent requirements for legal marriage according to UAE legislation are:
  1. The girl reaches 18 lunar years.
  1. The adult woman’s guardian undertakes to conclude the marriage contract with her consent.
  1. On the condition that the woman is not permanently or temporarily mahram to the man.
  • Federal Decree-Law No. 41 of 2022 regarding civil personal status regulates issues of civil certificates and status to which non-Muslim residents of the Emirates are subject, as well as non-Muslim citizens. Similarly, the most important legislative requirement for civil marriage is that the husband and wife must reach the age of 21 AD, otherwise Marriage between brothers, sons, grandchildren, uncles, or maternal uncles.

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 What is the penalty for illegitimate pregnancy in the UAE?

The Emirati legislator did not criminalize illegitimate pregnancy for its own sake, but rather imposed a penalty for the method that leads to the illegitimate pregnancy, for two people to have sexual intercourse without a legal framework that protects all their rights and confirms the cohesion of society. Marriage legislation was never directed against individuals but rather exists to protect them and preserve their rights and their offspring, class. The Penal Code, the UAE Penal Code, the issue of illegitimate pregnancy, is included under the heading of crimes against honor/indecent assault.

Article 410 stipulates that anyone who has intercourse with a female who has completed 18 years of age and gives birth to a child shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of two years or more. She shall also be punished with the same penalty.

In all cases, a criminal lawsuit will not be instituted if both or one of them acknowledges the child’s filiation with the issuance of the identification documents and travel documents of the country to which either of them belongs due to his or her nationality. The foregoing results in the expiration of the criminal lawsuit or the suspension of the implementation of the penalty, as the case may be.

Read More: Requirements for marriage in Dubai

 Is pregnancy in customary marriage considered an illegitimate pregnancy in the UAE law?

So, an illegitimate pregnancy is a sexual relationship outside the institution of marriage that has been legislated by UAE law. Let us now come to the issue of the marriage registration procedure, especially in Islamic legislation, as marriage does not require that formality to be validly completed in Islamic legislation. As for the law, common-law marriage may not entail punishment. However, it does not lead to any rights towards the husband, the wife, or even the children, as the civil departments refuse to register the child without a judicial decision, and their connection to the lineage of their relatives depends on the issuance of the Sharia court’s ruling proving the marriage initially, followed by a ruling proving the children’s lineage. With regard to marriage without the consent of the guardian and that took place in a secret marriage, it may not necessitate punishment.

Read more: Getting married in the UAE: What are the documents needed?

Consequences of illegitimate pregnancy (children of unknown parentage) in the UAE

How does UAE law treat children of unknown parentage from illegitimate relationships?

The laws of the UAE reject adoption, that is, assigning a child’s lineage to someone other than his mother and father, and recognize an alternative system approved by the Emirati legislator in Federal Decree Law No. 1 of 2012 regarding the care of people of unknown parentage, whereby the latter can care for and embrace children who are the fruits of illicit relationships of unknown parentage, either through the family system. The custodian is in accordance with the controls, terms and conditions of this family, whether she is an Emirati or resident in the United Arab Emirates, or through public or private social institutions and bodies.

The Children’s Law in the Emirates also affirms the right of a child who has been temporarily or permanently deprived of his family and has missed out on a healthy, natural family environment, to health, social, educational and other care. Federal Decree-Law No. 2 of 2001 in force regarding social security deals with the issue of monthly assistance and social benefits for those who are Of unknown parentage in addition to orphans.

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Percentages of children in illegal pregnancy (of unknown parentage) in the UAE

Newborns of unknown parentage are subject to the aforementioned Decree 1 of 2012, as the latter regulates the care of children of unknown parentage (foundlings in the popular sense) guarantees their freedoms, and human and psychological rights, and achieves their best interests.

The care home chooses a quadruple name for the child, and it is prohibited in any way to indicate ignorance of the child’s lineage, whether in his birth certificate or any identification papers and stipulates in Article 8 and the second paragraph thereof the establishment of a register in each emirate that coordinates with the competent authorities in the Ministry of Interior in which all related information is recorded  People of unknown parentage. Likewise, UAE law prohibits non-specialized persons from obtaining copies or copies of the content of the records or from viewing the register at all.

And according to Article 17 of the decree referred to lastly, the article states that if the paternity of a child of unknown parentage is proven by a final judicial decision, the “foundling” child will be re-registered in the name of the person whose paternity is proven to him in accordance with the laws in force to establish parentage in the United Arab Emirates.

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What is worth noting is that Articles 3-4 stipulate the necessary procedures when a child of unknown parentage is found. So what is it?

What are the necessary procedures when seeing a child of unknown parentage in the UAE legally?

Inform the police of the child’s location, the time he was found, and his medical condition.

  • Or take the child to the nearest police station with all his belongings that were found with him or surrounding him.

If the child appears to be in need of urgent medical care, the person must inform the police station of the incident and its details and take him to the nearest health center.

HHS Lawyers Office welcomes questions from visitors. Contact one of the experienced lawyers on family issues in the United Arab Emirates.

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Is there any question regarding illegal pregnancy in the Emirates?

Get advice from one of the experienced family and personal status lawyers in Dubai working at the HHS Office for Legal Services and Consultations.

If you want to know more, call us here in Dubai Court Marriage today!

Hazim Darwish Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Hazim Darwish also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators.