The application for issuing a divorce is among the most common procedures which occur before the Cypriot Family Law Courts. The amendments which have been made to the relevant legislations have simplified and expedited the process of issuing a divorce in the Family Law Courts of Cyprus.
An absolute requirement for issuing a divorce before the Cypriot Family Law Courts is that one of the spouses must have a continuous residence in Cyprus for at least 3 months. The fact that a couple had their marriage abroad does not constitute a limiting factor if the continuous residence requirement is satisfied.
The grounds for divorce which the Applicant can claim are the same for all religious groups and civil marriages. The Applicant can claim that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This ground is presumed in circumstances of bigamy, adultery, desertion or abuse of the Applicant. Continuous separation of the couple for two years is another ground for divorce. Other grounds for divorce are gender change of either spouse or absence of the other spouse.
If a religious marriage has taken place, then before the filing of the divorce application, a notification should be sent to the relevant religious leader. In cases where the ground for divorce is absence of the other spouse or abuse against the other spouse or child of the couple, then a notification is not required. Within six weeks after sending the notification to the relevant religious leader, the religious leader will invite the couple to meet with him in order for an attempt of reconciliation of the marriage. In cases where the six-week period from the date of sending the notification to the relevant religious leader has elapsed and the religious leader has not issued a notification of reconciliation, it is presumed that the reconciliation meeting has failed. After the six-week period, each spouse can apply for a divorce at the Family Law Court. Exceptionally, if the ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage due to abuse, a notification is not required to be sent if a report has been made either to the Police or the Social Welfare Services regarding the abuse and a relevant confirmation has been given.
If the couple conducted both civil and religious marriages, then subject to a divorce application made for either marriage, both civil and religious marriages will be deemed as dissolved.
An important change brought by the amendment of the Law has been the introduction of no-fault divorces. No-fault divorces have been effective since the enforcement of the amended Family Law Legislation giving the spouses a choice to file a mutual divorce application if at least six months have passed since their marriage. An additional requirement for no-fault divorces is that custody of any children has been arranged or will be mutually arranged by the couple.
The amendments of the legislation related to the process of filing for a divorce have contributed to the modernization of the Family Law Courts, keeping up with the demands of the modern Cypriot society.
The content of this article is valid as at the date of its first publication. It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you seek professional advice on your specific matter before acting on any information provided. For further information or advice, please contact Mikaelena Kokkinou, Associate, at email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our litigation department of the Nicosia office at telephone +357 22 447777.