Getting a divorce in Cyprus: separate paths, same destination
What We Offer
The divorce procedure in Cyprus is quite unique in terms of a western-oriented society in the sense that up until this very moment this short note is prepared no alternative is offered for those couples who have followed the religious ceremony in order to get married and at some point they have decided consensually that this marriage is now over and it is about time they followed different ways; in other words, the consensual divorce is not an option in the Cypriot legal system.
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In light of the aforementioned it has to be underlined that should the married-to-be-divorced couple wishes to proceed with a divorce procedure, the Family law courts in Cyprus would only accept an application that even in theory needs to bring forward one of the following strictly specified reasons, in particular:
- relationship of the parties undergone major shock
- continuous four-year separation of the parties
- unethical behavior
- declaration of absence
- imprisonment of one of the spouses for a period of more than seven (7) years
- violent and abusive behavior
- inability of sexual intercourse while married for a period of six (6) consecutive months, including the period during the divorce proceedings.
- refusal of one of the spouses to have children
- one of the spouses has changed his/ her religious beliefs
- inexcusable absence of two (2) years’ time from family premises
it has to be pinpointed the fact that in order for a Cypriot court to constitute itself competent and move forward with all necessary procedures, one of the spouses has to be residing in Cyprus for at least three months’ time, regardless of their nationality
Having said all of the above we can now proceed by distinguishing between the Religious and the Civil divorce procedure, given the different preconditions that need to be met in every separate occasion.
How We Can Help
The Religious way
As soon as the parties decide to proceed further with their divorce the competent Bishop of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus needs to be properly informed via a Notification of Intent regarding the Application for Registration of Marriage Solution ( in brief coined as “the Notice”); the competent Bishop shall be defined as per the place of residence of either spouse.
The Notification on its own is not enough and it is only after the submission of the Divorce Application as such with the Secretariat of the competent Family Court that the Application is considered properly submitted and registered.
After thirty to forty (30-40) days of time a date shall be arranged by the competent Court on which the Divorce Application shall be duly discussed.
Given the formality of the procedure it could be that one of the spouses seems to be the one leading the procedure, while the other one is merely following that lead. Therefore the spouse having submitted the Application needs to notify his/ her counter-litigant via a bailiff whereas, at the same time, he/ she needs to present to the competent Court that Notice of Service duly concluded. If the counter-litigant opts for absence from the hearing of the case despite having been properly served, the Court shall postpone the discussion of the case in fifteen days’ time by offering at least a second chance to the missing party to present himself/ herself and allow him/ her to present his/ her case accordingly
Please bear in mind that all of the aforementioned actions could be tackled by a representative lawyer of yours who shall make sure – without you being necessarily present – that all relevant procedures have been taken care and concluded respectively
The Civil Way
In the case of a Civil Marriage that needs now to be properly resolved things can evolve a lot faster given that there is no need for a period of three months’ time that needs to pass before the actual process moves duly forward.
At the same time, there is no need for any Competent Bishop of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus to be involved given that there had been no involvement of his from the very beginning.
So, given the lack of these two factors things shall develop in the way previously described above, but, for what is worth, a lot faster given that he Application shall be discussed after only thirty to forty (30-40) days from the day of its submission
The Civil Cohabitation Agreement Resolution
This is a new type of resolution that came up only due to the fact that the Civil Cohabitation Agreement has been introduced in the legal world of Cyprus since 2015 (Law 184(I)/2015), allowing for different and same sex couples alike to get their relationships legally arranged and organized the same way a religious or a political marriage arranges and organizes things.
The resolution of such an Agreement can be achieved mainly through the below ways:
- a common statement as prepared by both parties which has to be signed before two witnesses and the Head of Civil Registry before whom the initial Cohabitation Agreement was signed.
Attention: please bear in mind that after 60 days’ time the Statement as such suffices in order for the Cohabitation Agreement to be considered resolved; however, the whole procedure could be a lot easier and simpler in case the Resolution in place is to be signed and concluded before the Cohabitation Agreement has been 60 days valid as such
- a Decree issued by the competent Regional Court wherein the Cohabitation Agreement had been initially signed. No apparent, grave or whatever reason needs to be brought forward; the only precondition is the submission of a relevant Application as such
- as soon as the two parties decide to get married, in which case automatically the two parties become henceforth Spouses