Married couples in Abu Dhabi who seek to file a divorce must first undergo an intensive monitoring and counselling programme
16 September 2020| Last updated on 16 September 2020
The "Reconciliation is Better" programme for couples was launched by the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department
The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) introduced a new couple programme with the aim to help married people in the capital to resolve their disputes and differences.
Before filing for a divorce, married couples must participate in the "Reconciliation is Better" programme which involves thorough couple counselling and intensive monitoring.
Youssef Al Abri, Undersecretary of ADJD, said that the initiative's mission is to help couples overcome their problems.
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Abu Dhabi's "Reconciliation is Better" initiative is run by professional counsellors who will assist married couples with any divorce-related legal, psychological, and social concerns.
Prior to the new programme, married couples in Abu Dhabi who intended to divorce were required to seek a family counsellor, which usually takes a month.
Dr. Abdulhameed Al Hosni, Head of Alternative Dispute Management at ADJD, said, "The process mainly relied on the efforts of the counsellor and his ability to reach a resolution."
“He would try as much as he could to reach a reconciliation rather than a divorce," he continued.
What is the "Reconciliation is Better" programme?
The "Reconciliation is Better" programme in Abu Dhabi is a new couple counselling initiative that married people must participate in before filing for divorce.
They will be required to attend interactive workshops in order to understand the impact of divorce on families, specially children as "usually they are the main victim".
“We explain to them in detail the legal aspects of a divorce and what to expect in terms of allowances, custody regulations and so on," said Dr Al Hosni.
The sessions involve exercises such as solving a hypothetical situation that they may face in the future, as well as other "remedies and treatment plans".
Spouses will be asked to go through a series of sessions and extensive mentoring, and regular reconciliation meetings.
The programme also includes group workshops involving several couples. The number of group and individual sessions will depend on each couple's situation.
When are the workshops and sessions?
For now, due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the UAE, the "Reconciliation is Better" sessions and workshops are held online.
When the situation returns to normal in the country, the programme will be held at the ADJD department.
How long does the new programme take?
The programme can take between two to four months, based on the disputing family's problems and interest in divorce.
ADJD will follow up and closely monitor families for six months after they complete the "Reconciliation is Better" programme.
“If they reconcile, we contact them every month to make sure they are managing their life smoothly and we aid with any emerging issues,” Dr Al Hosni added.
What happens if the couple decides to divorce?
If the programme does not help the spouses reconcile and they ultimately decide to divorce, ADJD will continue to provide help by giving them parenting tips, custody guidance, and advice on how to communicate with each other after the separation.
“We have seen a number of cases of divorced couples getting back together," he said, as 70-80% of couples who came to ADJD for counselling were able to save their marriages.
“And with the new intensified efforts, we aim to stop more divorces from occurring,” continued Dr Al Hosni.