Communication Rights (visitation – child custody) in Cyprus Family Law
Communication Rights (visitation – child custody) in Cyprus Family Law:
Cypriot family law recognises that it’s for the best interests of a child to keep in touch with both parents. The court may assign parental custody to one parent or to both if they agree as to the place of residence of the child. Furthermore, the Court may allocate parental custody between the parents or may assign it to a guardian. In cases where custody is allocated to only one parent, the parent with whom the child doesn’t live has the right to personal communication with the child. The exercise of that right lies with the discretion of the Court, in case of dispute between the parents and the criterion is the welfare of the child.
The parental custody is a right, and at the same times a responsibility of the parents which is exercised jointly by them. When the parents’ dispute over parental custody and the best interests of the child requires a decision to be made, then either parent can apply to Court in order for the dispute to be resolved. The decisions made by the parents or by the Court should aim at the best interests of the child, which is interpreted in the broad sense.
The Court will take into account:
- the child’s relationship with each parent and his/her brothers and sisters and
- the existence of any agreement between the parents in relation to the custody of the child.
- the age of the child
- the mental capacity of the child
- the parents’ financial position
- the welfare of the child
- the feelings of the child
- the child’s wishes provided that he/she is mature and competent
An order regulating parental custody can be modified or recalled by the Court. For this purpose, either of the parents or the Director of the Social Welfare Services must make an application to the Court. For the application to succeed, it must be proven that the circumstances have been changed since the issuing of the order regulating parental custody.
Cyprus law safeguards the right of the grandparents to communicate with the child. According to the law, no one has the right to obstruct the personal communication of the child with his/her grandparents, except where a serious reason exists relating to the best interests of the child. The Court still has the discretion to regulate the exercise of this right after a related application is made.
Parents have the obligation to support their child jointly and according to their powers. A parent or the beneficiary or the Director of the Social Welfare Services may apply to the Court in order for the maintenance payable to the child to be regulated. The amount of maintenance is calculated according to the needs of the beneficiary taking into consideration the standard of living before the separation and the income generated by the parents. Furthermore, maintenance includes all the necessities for the sustenance and welfare of the child as well as the expenses for the child’s education. Where the parent against whom the order is issued receives a thirteenth or fourteenth month pay, the maintenance order may also include a thirteenth or fourteenth monthly payment of maintenance.