Divorce can sometimes be complicated, especially as an expat since you might be dealing with the laws of two different countries. Careful consideration should be given when deciding to go ahead with divorce in a foreign country.
As an expat in Bahrain, the procedure will depend on your religion.
If you’re a non-Muslim expat, you’re unfortunately out of luck if you wanted to get divorced in Bahrain. You will only be able to start an application for divorce through the Bahrain Civil Courts. The Bahrain Courts jurisdiction will be based on provisions of the Civil and Commercial Procedures Law.
The laws that the court applies will be the laws of the nationality of the parties, which tends to sway more towards the husband’s nationality if they’re different.
You will be required to give the court legalised, certified copies of the laws of your home country, in addition to their translation into Arabic. This can take some time and will cost you money.
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However, if you are a Muslim expats, it is possible to get divorced in Bahrain. The Family Law can apply to all Muslims who were married through a Sunni marriage contract. If you decide to go this route, you’ll need to ensure that your divorce is then recognised in your home country.
A foreign divorce is not recognised in many countries, such as the UK, so it’s something you need to look into. If you ignore this, you might face very serious issues, such as bigamy if you get remarried and difficulties with financial claims.
Deciding on where to get divorced
It’s important to think about where would be the best jurisdiction for divorce proceedings. Generally, if you or your spouse still have ties to your home country, you would be able to file for divorce and financial claims through the English courts.
Otherwise, it would be wise to ensure that whatever financial agreement you both agree in on Bahrain is enforceable by law in England.
For Muslim expats, they can generally claim Mahr if applicable as well as financial support during the Uddah waiting period.