Civil Partnership is a legally recognized form of coexistence. In 2015, Cyprus has adopted the law on Civil Partnership (Law 184 (I)/2015).
This law introduces the institution of civil partnership in the Cypriot legal framework. It does not specify the sex of persons intending to enter into a civil partnership agreement. This is an important development for the area of human rights in Cyprus, specifically with regards to the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual and/or Ally) community of the country. It has certainly brought about the much-anticipated modernization of our legal system and shows the significant progress that is being made regarding equality. This is a new experience for same-sex couples who now get to enjoy their life and have the opportunity to live unapologetically with the legal recognition of their relationship through the completion of a civil partnership. Undoubtedly, it introduced a more liberal and inclusive society in Cyprus.
In terms of the legal consequences of the conclusion of a civil partnership agreement, with the exception of the Adoption Law, such an agreement has the corresponding effects and consequences as if a marriage had taken place under the provisions of the Marriage Law. Thus, any reference within the legislation of the Republic to a "spouse" will be interpreted as a reference to a cohabitee within a civil partnership agreement.
What does it offer?
Couples who are not married have no automatic legal rights if they separate, meaning many people risk being treated unfairly. This can be particularly problematic for those who own a home together or who have children. Therefore, this law offers a number of advantages for a couple living together so as to establish their entitlement, make life easier if they split up, protect their future and save money.
What are the conditions needed to conclude a Civil Partnership?
According to the law on Civil Partnerships, in order for a couple to enter into a "Civil Partnership" both parties must:
- give their free consent, i.e. consent to enter into a Civil Partnership without coercion or mental pressure or be a victim of fraud or misrepresentation;
- be at least 18 years old,
- be aware of the consequences of their actions, i.e. be free from any mental or intellectual incapacity or other disease/illness due to dependence on addictive substances.
Failure to comply with these conditions may make a concluded Civil Partnership invalid or void, within the meaning of the law.
To determine the address of cohabitation or common residence of two persons who intend to enter into a civil partnership agreement, any of the interested persons can present one of the following items:
- Certification by the President of the relevant parish,
- Utility service account (water, telephone, electricity, refuse, etc.), or
- Another public document showing the residential address.
Citizens of EU Member States or third-country nationals can present their title/residence permit, provided that the document they hold indicates their place of residence, and in case they are tourists in the province of their choice.
The couple then must submit a completed form, entitled "Civil Partnership Form" which they have themselves signed. Along with this form and the document verifying their permanent residence, each person must submit the following documents:
(a) A valid identity card or passport or other equivalent travel document;
(b) an affidavit that he/she-
- has not entered into this marriage or any other Civil Partnership by force,
- is not aware of the existence of any obstacle or legal obstacle to the conclusion of the Civil Partnership, and
- has secured any necessary consent required to enter into a Civil Partnership or, alternatively, that no such consent is required;
(c) a duly certified original or a copy of a Certificate of Liberty or another duly certified, equivalent original certificate issued by the competent authorities of the country of origin of persons intending to enter into a Civil Partnership or official certificate, either of which has been issued by the competent authorities of the Republic, within a period not exceeding 3 months before the submission of the form.
Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (c), non-Cypriot citizens of the EU, as well as third-country nationals, intending to enter into a Civil Partnership are exempted from the obligation to present an official certificate or Certificate of Liberty, issued by the competent authorities of the Republic.
If the Registrar is satisfied:
In case the Registrar of the District in which the form of Civil Union is presented is satisfied with the documents submitted and accompanying the "Form of Civil Union" already signed by the candidate civil partners, he will invite them to a statement before him that they agree to the conclusion of a Civil Partnership and will then read to them the "Statement of the Civil Partners of a Civil Union". Then he will complete and sign the "Form of Civil Partnership". This Form is then signed by two witnesses who are aged at least 18 and who have sound mental capacity.
After the specified fee has been paid, the Registrar issues and delivers to both Partners a duly sealed and signed copy "Certificate of Civil Union" bearing the date of registration which is the date on which the procedure before the Registrar took place and is completed.
Dissolution of a Civil Partnership
Section 17 of the relevant legislation outlines the various causes of dissolution of a Civil Partnership. It can be resolved as follows:
- by joint written Declaration of the Cohabitators,
- by Order of the Court of the District in which it is concluded,
- automatically, in the event of a marriage taking place between the partners; or
- upon the death of one or both of the partners.
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.