Every couple, regardless of nationality and where they were married, can file for divorce (dissolution of a civil or religious marriage) in a Family Court in Cyprus, provided that one of the spouses has lived in Cyprus for at least 3 months.
Dissolution of a religious marriage
In order for a religious marriage to be dissolved, a notification must first be sent to the competent Bishop of the Province of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus of the place of residence of the spouse who lives in Cyprus, who then sends a Notification of Intention to Register an Application for Divorce. Notification is not required when the reason for divorce is incapacity or insanity.
After 3 months from the receipt of the notification by the Bishop, the Divorce Application for the dissolution of the marriage can be registered in the Family Court with all the facts of the marital relationship and the reasons for the divorce.
Dissolution of a Civil marriage
For the dissolution of a civil marriage, there is no need to send the Notification to the Bishop. Hence, the divorce procedure is shorter and less time consuming for spouses who desire to dissolve their civil marriage. The spouses do not need to wait 3 months for this: therefore, they can file their Divorce Application immediately.
If the parties both agree on divorcing, then the process is simple because they only have to submit the marriage certificate to the Court and the divorce petitioner must give his confirmation.
Reasons for divorce
According to Family Law in Cyprus, a divorce decree can be issued:
- if it is presumed that the relationship between the spouses has been strained and that it is intolerable for the Plaintiff to continue the marital relationship, for reasons, including;
- incompatibility, age, education or social background, a serious illness of the spouse (so that it is not reasonable to expect the other spouse to remain in the marriage and support him/her), a serious incident that has taken place or behaviour that occurs continuously and cumulatively that has led to the collapse of the marriage.
- in the event of bigamy, adultery, extramarital affairs, abandonment of the spouse, intrusion of his/her life by the defendant or violence against the plaintiff by the defendant (physical or verbal) or the change of gender of the defendant;
- where the spouses have been separated for at least four years, then the damage to the relationship between the spouses shall be presumed irreparable;
- The completion of the four-year separation time is not affected by sporadic breaks made in an effort to restore the relationship between the spouses, provided such separation in total does not exceed six months.
When one of the spouses passes away, it automatically results in the dissolution of the marriage.
Legal consequences of divorce
- Regarding the personal relationship of the spouses (e.g. surname), the divorce brings about the dissolution of the marriage but does not bring about an automatic change of surname. It is up to the interested party to make an affidavit of change of name.
- In relation to the distribution of the spouses' assets, the divorce does not affect the property disputes. A separate application is filed for this issue as this constitutes a separate procedure.
- With regard to the children of the spouses, legal consequences do not exist, as the divorce is a separate and independent process from that of custody of the children, unless the divorce was issued for reasons of coercion against the life or physical abuse of the children. Divorce does not affect matters concerning the minor children of the spouses (e.g. alimony, guardianship, communication). A separate application should be submitted for this issue.
- As regards the obligation to pay alimony to the other spouse, the divorce does not automatically lead to an obligation to pay alimony. A separate application must be filed upon termination of cohabitation.
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.