Cyprus: Family Law In Cyprus Amended

Last Updated: 2 June 2017
Article by Maria Kannava

1. Introduction

In Cyprus, the majority of the cases that are related to family matters, such as divorce, property relations, custody of a child and maintenance are resolved by Family Courts. Under certain circumstances the family matters are resolved by the President of the District Court or the Family Courts of the Religious Groups.

2. Jurisdiction

Family Courts in Cyprus have jurisdiction to resolve the following matters:

  1. The dissolution of any religious marriage, in Cyprus or abroad, that was conducted under the rules of the Greek Orthodox Church;
  2. 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);
  3. The dissolution of any civil marriage, in Cyprus or abroad;
  4. Family matters in judicial proceedings initiated by the treaties to which Cyprus is a signatory country;
  5. 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, 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 States, then the enforcement will be effected by using the EU Regulations.

3. Marriage

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 recognized by the Cyprus Constitution (Maronites, Latin, Catholics and Armenians). Civil marriages are conducted by a Mayor, a Deputy Mayor or a person authorized by the Mayor of a municipality.


The dissolution of civil marriage in Cyprus is granted in Cyprus Family Courts once the applicant files an application at the Family Court.

In case of religious marriage, the spouse applying for the divorce must first notify in writing, according to Article 3(1) of L. 22/90, the Bishop of the area where the applicant lives stating the grounds for the divorce. The Bishop will then try to reconcile the couple. The application for divorce in the Family Courts can be filed only three months after the Bishop has received the notification

The most common 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 continuation of the marital relationship irrevocable for the applicant. According to Article 27 of the Marriages Law 104/2003, in the cases of bigamy, infidelity, abandonment, danger to the applicant's life by the Respondent or violence, there is a presumption that the marital relationship has been irreversibly damaged, and the spouse against whom the divorce application is directed ought to prove the opposite.

Another ground for a divorce is when the spouses are continuously estranged for four years or more. In this case, the marital relationship is presumed to be irreversibly damaged, in which case there is no need to prove the existence of any of the abovementioned grounds as the presumption cannot be rebutted.

Additional and independent grounds for divorce constitute the abandonment of the applicant, an attempt against the life of the applicant by the respondent and change of gender.

Finally, if the marriage has been conducted in the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, apart from the grounds mentioned above, it can be dissolved for any of the following reasons found in Article 225 of the Constitutional Charter of the Holy Orthodox Church of Cyprus:

  1. Infidelity
  2. Inexcusable conduct by one of the spouses including staying out of the family home and the false accusations for infidelity
  3. Danger to the applicant's life
  4. Mental disorder persisting over three years
  5. Incarceration of the spouse for over seven years
  6. Disappearance
  7. Inability of one of the spouses to fulfil their marital duties for six consecutive months
  8. Abandonment lasting over two years
  9. Change of religion or denomination or attempt by one of the spouses to proselytize the other
  10. Persistent hindrance of having children against the wishes of the other spouse

In cases where the marriage was conducted in a religious ceremony of one of the recognized Religious Groups, the application for divorce is submitted at the Religious Groups Family Court. Law 87(1)/94 provides for the relevant grounds for divorce:

  1. Any factor which arises affecting the validity of the marriage according to the relevant rules of that religious group
  2. Infidelity
  3. Repeated violence exercised against the applicant
  4. Imprisonment of at least seven years or for six months in case of an offence committed against the spouse
  5. Disappearance
  6. Inexcusable abandonment for over two years
  7. Inability of one of the spouses to fulfil their marital duties for six consecutive months
  8. Persistent hindrance of having children against the wishes of the other spouse
  9. Mental disability lasting over three years
  10. An irreversible damage to the marital relationship caused by either spouse, which constitutes the marital relationship insufferable.

A marital relationship is deemed to have been terminated only once the competent Court has issued an order for the dissolution of the marriage, or the Supreme Court in the case of an appeal.

4. Use of family home

Pending the divorce procedures, as per Article 17 of the Family Courts Law of 1990, it is possible for the Family Courts to order that a part or the whole of the family home will be exclusively used by one of the two spouses irrespective of who may be the owner of the family home, in order to achieve the welfare of one of the spouses or of the family. Such an order shall cease to have effect once the marriage is officially dissolved.

An application for the exclusive use of the whole or part of the family home must be based on the facts that the behavior of the other spouse is of such a nature that justifies the issue of the relevant order, such as violence, threats, unstable behavior so that the order will be necessary to protect the physical and mental health of the applicant spouse or of the rest of the family.

The Court in making a decision for the exclusive use of the matrimonial home will take into account equity as well as the particular circumstances of each spouse and the best interests of their children.

5. Parental care

In cases where the marriage has also produced children, the Courts have the jurisdiction to make provisions for the care of the child or children if they are not of age. In general, the parental care is a right and at the same time a responsibility of the parents which is exercised jointly by them.

Parental care according to the law may include the naming of a child, the custody, the care, the communication with the child, the representation of the minor, the administration of his property and any other issues regarding its person and property. Custody is one of the dimensions of parental care, which is mainly relevant to the bringing up and looking after the minor including his or her education and his or her place of residence.

An application is filed under Law 216/90, which is not limited to the two parents, but also direct relatives and the Director of the Social Welfare Services may also file a relevant application. The Court rules on the application based on several criteria.

It is usual practice that the Social Welfare Services shall submit a report regarding the welfare of the minor and the ability of the parent requesting custody and care to fulfil his or her obligations. Furthermore, the Court takes into account the child's interests as well as the child's wishes, provided that he/she is mature.

The exercise of parental care may be accorded to either one of the spouses, or to both in common if they agree on the child's place of residence, or even to a third party if that is necessary for the child's interests, according to Article 14 of Law 216/90.

6. Alimony

  1. Child Alimony

Article 33(1) of the Law for the Relationship between Parents and their Children L. 216/90, provides for the legally imposed obligation of both parents to provide for their child according to their powers. This matter is always settled by the court after the submission of a relevant application.

During the process both parents must disclose their financial situation, meaning their respective incomes. Alimony covers everything necessary for the welfare of the beneficiary (the child or children) and for their education, taking into account the standard of living before the separation and the income generated by the parents. Such an application must not require excessive amounts for the welfare of the child which are unreasonable, unnecessary or disproportionate.

  1. Spouse alimony

According to Article 3 of Law 232/91, both spouses have the obligation of paying alimony to the other spouse, regardless of whether that is the husband and wife, on the basis of gender equality. This application may be filed before the divorce order has been issued as long as the spouses are estranged. The spouse who is entitled to alimony is the one who during the conjugal period had the least resources for covering his or her own needs and expenses and thus relied upon the other spouse for this. Therefore, the amount of alimony applied for must not be excessive or inaccurate.

The issuing of the divorce does not hinder the former spouse's obligation to the support the other former spouse in cases where the former spouse is unable to support herself/himself from her/his financial resources.

7. Property relations between spouses

Each spouse retains all the rights they have on their personal property. Only property that was commonly acquired after the marriage may be divided or regulated by a court order. One of the spouses may also have a claim on property owned by the other spouse on the condition that that property has gained further value due to the other spouse's contribution to it. Such an application must be filed within three years of the dissolution of the marriage.

For such claims to be successful there are four requirements. First, the marriage must have been dissolved. Secondly, the value of the property must have increased. Thirdly, only the applying spouse's contribution is taken into account, not including the applying spouse's contribution for the family needs. Finally, the spouse's contribution must have been the reason for the increase of the property's value.

The contribution of a spouse is presumed to be 1/3 of the increase of the value of the property unless it is proved otherwise. In deciding the increase of the property, the Court will not take into account any property that was acquainted by way of gift, inheritance or bequest.

Pending the divorce procedures but once the estrangement has occurred, by virtue of Article 17 of Law 23/90 it is possible for the Court to issue an order making provisions for the use of movable property until the finalization of the divorce procedures unless both spouses have agreed upon the use of such movable property.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.