If you’re an expat in Kuwait and you’ve made the decision to get a divorce there, here’s what you should know.
4 July 2017| Last updated on 6 July 2017
As an expat, familiarising yourself with the local laws of your host country is always important. This comes handy in many situations, including when getting a divorce.
In Kuwait, there are a variety of laws that govern family disputes, such as the Family Court, Personal Status laws, Kuwaiti Nationality laws and visa laws. Every governorate in Kuwait has a dedicated Family Court that oversees divorce, alimony, custody and child support issues.
One of the most common questions expats have is whether Kuwaiti Family Law applies to them as well. This actually depends on the circumstances surrounding the divorce and the couple.
SEE ALSO: Guide to laws in Kuwait
Which divorce law applies?
Generally, the law of the nationality of the spouses can be applied when it comes to divorce. If they have different nationalities, then the law of the husband’s nationality at the time of marriage will be the one that applies.
What about the children involved?
When it comes to alimony, child maintenance and custody disputes, the law of the nationality of the husband will be applied by the courts.
If an expat is married to a Kuwaiti national, then only Kuwaiti law can apply in any situation.
It's important to note that Kuwaiti law designates the father as the legal guardian of the children. However, mothers may have physical custody of the children. Mothers can retain physical custody of male children until maturity (around 15 years old) and female children until marriage.
This means that the authority of the father is much more than the mother, even if the children live with her. For instance, the mother cannot take the children outside of the country without the father's permission. In the event that the mother re-marries, she loses custody.
Expats are strongly advised to see advice from both a local attorney in Kuwait and an attorney from their home country. That way, expats can get the assistance for local counsel while also ensuring the right foreign laws are being applied.