If you're an expat in Oman and you've made the decision to get a divorce while in the country, here's what you should know and must do
17 December 2019| Last updated on 17 December 2019
Everything you need to know about getting a divorce in Oman
By the time you or your spouse has come to the decision to divorce, the last thing you need is navigating a potentially complicated process. Rest assured, divorce in Oman needn't be a drawn-out and expensive procedure, provided you know what to do, and if you and your spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce.
Oman, as an Arab Muslim country, is governed under sharia law. As such, it is to be expected that legal family matters such as inheritance, marriage, and divorce fall under Islamic laws and regulations, applicable to both Omanis and expat residents.
Whether due to incompatibility, domestic troubles, dissatisfaction with an arranged marriage, infidelity, or other factors, the Sultanate has seen a steady increase of divorce rates for both Nationals and expats, with around 10 to 12 cases per day. For expats, there is still some confusion about what the process entails, especially with stories about couples getting divorced through social media such as WhatsApp.
Here's what you need to know to get a divorce process started in Oman, from the requirements, steps, and legal paths you can take to complete your divorce.
Divorce for non-Muslim expats
Divorce in Oman follows the Personal Status Law under the Royal Decree No. 32/97, with laws that differentiate for Muslim and non-Muslim expats in the Sultanate.
Should you plan to annul your marriage in Oman as non-Muslim expats, here is what you must do.
If both spouses agree to get a divorce, regardless of whether you're both non-Muslims or only one of you is Muslim, either the wife or husband must first submit a claim to the Omani Courts to request the nullification of the marriage.
They must both come in person to the Notary Public along with the original marriage certificate and two witnesses to officially register the divorce in Oman.
The Notary Public will then issue both the former spouses with certified copies of the divorce certificate.
If either the husband or wife wants to divorce but the other does not agree, the party who desires an annulment must submit a claim at the Omani Courts, requesting to end the marriage contract.
In both cases, as per Articles 282 of the Personal Status Law, the expat parties can choose to proceed with the divorce under the Oman Personal Status Law or their own national laws.
Should you choose to apply your own country's laws to complete your annulment, it is recommended you visit your country's embassy or consulate in Oman to know more about the procedure.
Divorce for Muslim expats
Getting a divorce in Oman for Muslim expats can be a bit more complicated, particularly for women. Here is how a Muslim expat can annul their marriage in Oman:
Divorce for wives
If a Muslim wife wishes to divorce her husband and he does not agree, she must submit a claim to the Omani Courts to request a divorce along with a valid reason and proof to back her claims.
The divorce must be based on one or more of the following reasons, pursuant to Articles 98 to Articles 114 of the Personal Status Law:
- Sexual illness (ex. sexually transmitted diseases)
- Mental illness
- Physical, psychological, or financial damage caused by the husband to the wife
- Abandonment by the husband
If the Omani Courts see valid proof of any of the above reasons, they will issue a Court order to nullify the marriage. The Muslim expat wife will then be given an official divorce certificate from the Oman Notary Public.
Alternatively, in accordance with Articles 94 to Articles 97 of the Personal Status Law, a Muslim expat woman may also divorce her husband by offering to compensate the spouse for the nullification of the marriage contract. This claim must be made through the Omani Courts, who will have the discretion to decide how much will be compensated based on the dowry and marriage timeline.
If both the Muslim husband and wife agree to divorce, the husband can file for an annulment without issue on behalf of his spouse.
Divorce for husbands
As per Article 82 of the Personal Status Law, Muslim men (whether Omani Nationals or expats), can simply divorce their wife by declaring the word itself to their spouse. Tallaq or any other word that showcases their strong desire to end the marriage, is legally accepted by the law.
The husband can also personally go to the Notary Public without the wife to register an annulment. Unlike the divorce requirements for female Muslim spouses, husbands can annul the marriage by bringing only the original marriage document and two witnesses. The male spouse can officially register the divorce and the Notary Public will issue the husband with certified copies of the divorce certificate.