Cypriot Family Law – Divorce
Cypriot Family Law – Divorce
The Cypriot family law finds its roots in the Greek family law system. Cypriot family, have over the years created their own jurisprudence and one can say that Cyprus now has an autonomous system of Cypriot family law.
The appropriate court for disputes governed over the family law jurisdiction such as divorce, separation from bed and board, the cohabitation of spouses, issues relating to the children or matrimonial relations, is the family court. It is also important to note that there is in existence a family division of the Cypriot Supreme Court. However, Family Courts are not the only competent courts for some of the said issues.
The Family Courts have jurisdiction in relation to the following (article 11 Law No.23/1990):
(a) The dissolution of any religious marriage which was celebrated according to the canons of the Greek Orthodox Church;
(b) The dissolution of any religious marriage of any other faith, provided that the Family Courts of the Religious Groups do not have jurisdiction in relation to such dissolution;
(c) The dissolution of any civil marriage;
(d)Family matters in judicial proceedings initiated by the treaties to which Cyprus is a signatory country;
(e) Matters of parental care, maintenance, and acknowledgement of paternity, adoption, property relations between spouses as well as any other matrimonial or family dispute.
Grounds for applying for a divorce:
- the breakdown of the martial relationship,
- four years of continuous separation,
- the absence of one of the spouses for two or more years,
- the imprisonment of one the spouses,
- separation for five years,
- a violent behaviour,
- an immoral behaviour
In relation to the dissolution of civil marriage in Cyprus, a spouse can apply directly to the court for the issuing of the divorce (including family issues such as child custody, maintenance and division of property). Same-sex marriage is not legally recognised by Cypriot law. In contrast, in case of a religious marriage, the spouse who wants a divorce must, first of all, send a notification to the Bishop/cleric (or to the religious leader when the couple belongs to one of the three recognised religious groups) stating the grounds for the divorce. The Bishop (or the religious leader) will then try to reconcile the couple. After filing the petition, the Bishop/cleric will send both spouses a notification from the church stating the divorce procedures must begin by the ecclesiastical court. Once the notice is received, the couple must wait three months before submitting their petition with the Cypriot Family Court. These days the presence in front of the Church is not requested. A certified letter is sent to the Church by their lawyers and then after the three months pass, then the divorce procedure can start through the Family Courts in Cyprus according to their jurisdiction.