In Cyprus, the majority of the cases that are related to family matters are resolved by Family District Courts.
Marriages and jurisdiction
Marriages in Cyprus may be religious or civil. Religious marriages are conducted by a priest of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus or of one of the religious groups Civil marriages are conducted by a Mayor, a Deputy Mayor or a person authorized by the Mayor of a municipality.
Family Courts in Cyprus have jurisdiction to resolve the following matters:
The dissolution of any religious marriage, in Cyprus or abroad, that was conducted under the rules of the Greek Orthodox Church;
The dissolution of any religious marriage, in Cyprus or abroad, of any other faith (except from those marriages that are resolved by the Family Courts of the Religious Groups);
The dissolution of any civil marriage, in Cyprus or abroad;
Family matters in judicial proceedings initiated by the treaties to which Cyprus is a signatory country;
Any family or matrimonial dispute between spouses and their children such as matters of parental care, adoption, maintenance, acknowledgment of paternity and property.
An important requirement for the family Courts to have jurisdiction is that one of the parties or both parties are resident in Cyprus for a continuous period of three months or more. However, if the dispute involves property relation, then there is no need for any of the parties to be residents in Cyprus.
A decision issued by a Court of another country can be enforced in Cyprus provided that Cyprus has an agreement with that particular country for mutual recognition and enforcements of judicial decisions with the country issuing the decision. If the country issuing the decisions is an EU Member State, then the enforcement will be effected by using the EU Regulations.
Application for the issuing of the Divorce
In relation to the dissolution of civil marriage, a spouse can apply directly to the court for the issuing of the divorce.
In case of a religious marriage, the spouse who wants a divorce must, first of all, send a notification to the Bishop (or to the religious leader when the couple belongs to one of the recognised religious groups stating the grounds for the divorce. The Bishop (or the religious leader) will then try to reconcile the couple. The divorce petition can be filed only after the elapsed of a three-month period from the time when the Bishop (or the religious leader) had received the notification.
The grounds for divorce
A ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship for reasons, which are attributed to the respondent, or to both spouses and which makes the continuance of the marital relationship intolerable for the applicant, for example:
An attempt against the life of the applicant
Another ground for divorce is the continuous separation for a period of four years, which constitutes an irrevocable presumption that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship. In that case, the marriage is dissolved regardless whether the reason leading to the irretrievable breakdown is attributed solely to the applicant.
Family law is a highly sensitive area of law. Our team of Lawyers is able to advise on issues such as the divorce procedure, custody of children, parental guardianship and responsibility, alimony and property disputes, financial settlement advice, non-compliance with court orders, domestic abuse, adoptions, asset tracing, emergency interim relief and injunctions, enforcement of foreign judgments under international conventions, advice on cross-border family disputes. If you wish to speak to one of our lawyers in absolute confidence please contact us.