Divorce is one of the most popular areas of Family Law. According to the statistical service’s demographic report 1 in 4 marriages in Cyprus will end in divorce. The only requirement for a divorce to be dealt with by the Cypriot Courts, is for either of the spouses to have lived in the Republic of Cyprus for at least three months, prior of filing the divorce application. Nationality of the spouses is not a relevant factor.
The first matter to be assessed when seeking a divorce is whether the marriage was celebrated in the Church. Where a Church ceremony has taken place, the competent Bishop (or the religious leader when the couple belongs to one of the three recognised religious groups) will need to be informed of the intention to divorce before the Registrar of the Family Court. The divorce petition can be filled only after the elapsed of a three month period from the time when the Bishop (or the religious leader) had received the notification). In relation to the dissolution of civil marriage, a spouse can apply directly to the court for the issuing of the divorce. The application to dissolve the marriage will need to be submitted to the Family Court in the province where the parties live.
-Grounds for Divorce.
Generally, the petitioner must establish that the marriage has irretrievably broken down 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.
The irretrievable breakdown of a marital relationship is presumed (unless the contrary is proven by the Responded) in the following cases: Bigamy, adultery, desertion or an attempt against the life of the Petitioner by the Respondent. 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.
Furthermore, the change of sex of the respondent, the abandonment of the applicant and an attempt against the life of the applicant by the respondent constitute independent grounds for divorce.
During a Divorce process in Cyprus the Family Courts are able to grant interim orders for the exclusive use of the home or matrimonial possessions.
However final settlements of matters concerning property disputes between the spouses need to be dealt with by means of separate applications. When the divorce order is issued and the marriage is dissolved, then either party may claim his/her contribution to the increase of the property of the other spouse.
A separate petition shall also be filed as regards to Parental care and Child Maintenance disputes between the spouses, after the issuance of the divorce order.