Rights Of Children Born to Unmarried Couples in The UAE

12 Sep 2023


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands as a shining example of a nation dedicated to social progress, evident through its remarkable advancements and embrace of progressive initiatives across diverse sectors. Guided by a forward-thinking approach that encompasses economic diversification, social advancement, innovation, tolerance, and environmental sustainability, the UAE has implemented comprehensive legal reforms to strengthen family bonds, safeguard individual rights, and establish a more equitable society. Correspondingly, the UAE distinguishes itself from other nations through its ongoing reforms, which place a strong emphasis on prioritizing the well-being, safety, and care of both its citizens and expatriates who contribute to the country's progress. Notable among these reforms are measures pertaining to unmarried couples, cohabitation, premarital relationships, and children born outside of marriage. By removing criminal penalties for consensual relationships outside of wedlock and ensuring the legal recognition and protection of children born from such relationships, the UAE demonstrates its commitment to adapt its legal framework to reflect evolving societal norms and prioritize the well-being and rights of all its citizens.


Recognition of Unmarried Couples and Children Born Out of Wedlock:

In an effort to promote inclusivity and fairness, the UAE has enacted legal reforms that recognize the rights and responsibilities of unmarried couples and children born outside of marriage. Effective January 2, 2022, consensual relationships between unmarried individuals are no longer considered a criminal offence, as long as both partners are single. As stated, this progressive step allows individuals to engage in relationships based on mutual consent without fear of legal repercussions.


However, if a premarital relationship leads to pregnancy, the law mandates that the couple accept responsibility for the child and fulfil their obligations towards them with proper legal advice from well-experienced lawyers. Moreover, this provision emphasizes the importance of parents, regardless of their marital status, taking care of their children and ensuring their well-being. Thus, neglecting these responsibilities may result in criminal charges, highlighting the significance placed on parental accountability in the UAE.


Protection and Well-being of Children

The legal reforms implemented in the UAE extend beyond acknowledging children born to unmarried couples. They strive to provide specific rights and protections that ensure the well-being and safeguarding of these children. Subsequently, addressing various aspects related to these circumstances, the reforms ensure legal recognition, protection, and appropriate measures for the children and families involved.


Central to these reforms is the recognition that the best interests of the child should always be prioritized, irrespective of the circumstances or manner of their birth. Furthermore, the law mandates that couples who conceive a child outside of marriage must either marry or independently/jointly acknowledge the child. This provision ensures that children born in such circumstances receive legal recognition and are entitled to necessary care and support. As a result, it underscores the importance of parents being accountable for the well-being and upbringing of their children, emphasizing the principle that every child deserves love, care, and protection, regardless of their parents' marital status.


Legal Documentation and Rights of Children

To protect the rights and ensure the legal status of children born outside of wedlock, the UAE's legal reforms require parents to provide identification papers and travel documents as required by the laws of the country to which one of the parents belongs. Accordingly, this stipulation ensures that necessary legal documentation is obtained to establish the child's identity, citizenship, and entitlement to rights and privileges within their respective legal systems.


Adhering to these regulations guarantees that the child's legal status and rights are duly recognized and protected. It allows for the child's inclusion within the legal frameworks of both parents' countries of origin, facilitating their access to education, healthcare, and other essential services. Non-compliance with this obligation may lead to legal consequences, highlighting the significance placed on fulfilling the necessary documentation requirements to safeguard the child's rights and legal status.



The UAE's progressive legal reforms demonstrate its commitment to inclusivity, fairness, and social progress. By enacting comprehensive changes regarding unmarried couples, cohabitation, premarital relationships, and children born outside of marriage, the UAE ensures that its legal framework reflects evolving societal norms while protecting the well-being and rights of children.


Through these reforms, the UAE sets an example for other nations, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and protecting the rights of individuals irrespective of their marital status. By prioritizing the best interests of the child and holding parents accountable for their responsibilities, the UAE fosters a society that values inclusivity and ensures that every child receives the care, support, and protection they deserve. Altogether, with its forward-thinking approach, the UAE paves the way for a brighter future where equal rights and opportunities are extended to all its citizens, promoting a more compassionate and inclusive society.