Cyprus Family Law is mainly modeled on the Greek family law with influences from the Common Law and is a great area of our legal system. We deal with all areas of the family and matrimonial laws and regulations and we offer advice and representation over all Family Law proceedings and can handle each case with respect and discretion, aiming to develop a personal relationship with our clients, based on mutual trust.
The Family Court
Family Law Courts have jurisdiction over divorce proceedings, maintenance and property disputes, child custody and contact disputes, adoption proceedings and all other relevant matters.
The Family Courts of Cyprus have jurisdiction over the above disputes when at least one of the parties has been a resident of Cyprus for a period of more than six months.
Cyprus is a signatory to many major international treaties concerning family law matters including the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction and the Family Courts of Cyprus have jurisdiction over proceedings initiated by the above treaties.
More specifically, the Family Court has jurisdiction on the following:
Divorce is one of the most popular areas of Family Law. Statistics in Cyprus show that 1 in every 3 marriages ends in divorce.
There are several grounds for divorce. Generally, the petitioner must establish that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The petitioner may also invoke/prove the following: that the respondent has committed adultery, that the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with him/her, that the respondent has deserted the petitioner, that the parties have lived apart for a continuous period of six months and more.
In the event of religious marriage a letter should be dispatched to the Archbishop with the name of the client as sender. With the letter the intention of the client to file a divorce is notified. The letter shall be sent by registered post. The right to apply for a divorce in court is obtained 3 months after receipt of the letter by the Archbishop. In order to prepare the application we need a number of details like a Certificate of Marriage, exact day of the wedding and reasons for the divorce.
Once the petition is ready it will be filed with the Court and served to the other side. If the respondent consents to the divorce then the practice is to avoid appointing a lawyer so that the Petitioner can proceed in default and the divorce may be issued within two months. However if the respondent appoints a lawyer and disputes the petition then the case will take much longer.
During the period of desertion, the court may issue an order in favor of one spouse, for the exclusive use of the whole or part of the dwelling that is used as the family home, independently of who is the registered owner.
In the event of civil marriage, a divorce application can be registered at any time directly at the Court without any preceding action.
In the event of death of one of the two spouses, the dissolution of the marriage is ipso jure.
In cases of divorce, the duty to maintain children is determined according to the economic and financial means of both parents. It is subject to the genuine revelation of the parents’ corresponding income. Interim orders, for the maintenance of children are readily issued by the courts, pending final adjudication. The obligation for child support may continue, in some cases, even after the child is 18 years old e.g. if studying.
Maintenance between Spouses in Cyprus
The spouses may have a mutual obligation to provide maintenance. During a separation period the court may order the spouse that is in a better financial position, to pay alimony to the other spouse.
It is possible for an interim maintenance order to be issued before the respondent is notified or heard.
The obligation to provide maintenance may continue in some cases even after the issue of the divorce.
Parental Care – Communication
The parent living apart from the child has a right of access and communication with him or her.
A parent who decides to leave Cyprus with his or her children without first seeking the approval of their other half could soon be subject to criminal prosecution.
In the case of a divorce, the exercise of parental care is regulated by the court, unless the parents agree otherwise between themselves.
In court proceedings where the custody, care and welfare of the child, are in issue a Social Worker is appointed in order to investigate the family and other circumstances in order to assist the Court in determining what the best interest of the child is.
The grandparents also have a right of access and communication with the children.
Financial Arrangements on Divorce
A spouse who has in any way contributed towards the increase of the movable or immovable assets of the other spouse during the marriage or even before, is entitled to claim the part of the increase which represents his or her contribution.
- According to Cyprus law, there is a rebuttable presumption that the 1/3 of the increase of the assets of one spouse was contributed by the other spouse.
- The claim on the other spouse’s assets is time barred 2 years after the dissolution of the marriage.
- Assets located abroad are included.
- Anything that was acquired by way of gift is not taken into account.
Adoption is the legal action which creates parental relation between the adopted child and the adopting parents. Our law office can guide you through the adoption process: the documentation and filing with the corresponding authorities, the issue of adoption decree by the court, the process of obtaining certain certificates of the child as well as the immigration process.
The parents legally entitled to submit the application must fulfill certain criteria:
- One of them has to be permanently resident in the country or to have been resident in the country for the past two years.
- The child to be adopted is resident in the country during the submission of the application.
- The consent of the natural parents or guardians of the child is required.
- A social research for the adopting family is firstly carried out.
The adoption process might take around 6-8 months to be completed counting from the date the documents are received in our office.
The outcome of the adoption is significant as the bonds of the adopted child with its natural family and/or guardian are cut and the child acquires all the legal rights and status of its adopting family.