How to obtain a Divorce in Cyprus and what is covered by the Family Law Division

The main point to remember when seeking to file for divorce in Cyprus, is that both parties must live in Cyprus for a minimum of three months prior to filing the divorce application. Failure to do so means that the Family Courts in Cyprus do not have jurisdiction to handle the dissolution or annulment of the marriage. If the divorce concerns a civil wedding, the concerned party can file a divorce petition at any time before the Family Court in the district where he or she lives. If, however, a religious wedding has taken place, then the concerned party needs to send a Notice of Marriage Dissolution to the Bishop three months prior to the filing of the divorce application at the Family Court. Proof of posting will be required.

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage must be proved in order to proceed with a divorce claim. The following grounds are accepted in support of the application for divorce:

  • Violence or physical abuse Insanity
  • Separation for over 5 years
  • Infidelity
  • Inexcusable absence from he family for over 2 years
  • Serious breakdown of the relationship
  • Immoral behaviour
  • Imprisonment of the spouse for over 7 years
  • Spouse declared dead or missing
  • Insanity
  • Impotence, existing at time of marriage and continuous for 6 months and during the application for Divorce Refusal of one spouse to have children
  • Change of religion

The process

A separate application needs to be made for Maintenance and property disputes. There are no consequences regarding the change of name of a spouse.

It is possible to appeal against a decision relating to divorce or marriage annulment by filing at the Family Court of Second Instance (Supreme Court).

Divorce in Cyprus, as in many other countries, is the concern of Family Law, one part of the judiciary which, in turn, covers relationships, rights and duties within a family, particularly those as a result of marriage. Marriage itself is a legal entity that includes obligations and rights on the part of both the parties involved, regardless of what individuals (spouses) agree to do. Family Law also concerns adoption, child custody, visitation rights, spouse abuse.

Once the necessary form has been completed and filed, the divorce petition requests the dissolution of the marriage and is served upon the other spouse; proof is required that the petition has been received; a hearing is set if the other spouse objects or is set if the other spouse does not appear.

Other issues covered by Family Law

Child Custody takes place after the divorce of the parent; a custody petition is filed and a court order is issued naming the parent with whom the child will live. In the case of joint custody it is based on the assumption that co-parenting and sharing of stays will take place within each home and both parties will have a say in educational and financial and emotional well-being matters pertaining to the child or children involved. Child Custody also concerns financial issues and other guidelines concerning the child, therefore.

Visitation concerns the rights of the non-custodial parent or parent living separately to visit his or her children. If parents do not co-operate, the court will decide the times and frequency.

Other areas covered by Family Law, some of which may or may not relate directly to divorce matters, include

Adoption

This is also covered by Family Law; adoption concerns the act of voluntarily agreeing to enable a child to become part of an artificial family with all the natural implications of taking the family name, enjoying the use of a family home in the natural course of day-to-day living, and normal relationships with any siblings and other family members.

Spouse abuse

The most common civil actions are the defence of abused victims by issuing a protective order, restraining order or injunction. The court may insist the abuser leave the home, receive counselling or may dictate other actions. Police will have the power to arrest abusers who breach any court orders. Spouse abuse is a very serious matter and, as such, is often a key issue resulting in a request for a divorce.

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About the author

Sarah Olney Ross

With over 30 years' professional experience, working at Board level for some of the world’s most respected communications agencies, Sarah loves to work with busy professionals, freeing up their time and helping them achieve their objectives.

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