There is a list of different pieces of legislation, which include provisions regarding the divorce procedure, either for the dissolution of religious or civil marriages. The most recent piece of legislation is the Civil Marriage Law (N.104(I)/2003) which was put in force in Cyprus in 2003, in which there are a number of provisions regulating the divorce procedure.
Regarding the grounds for divorce, which an applicant can invoke, the aforementioned pieces of legislation provide for several grounds for divorce which include, among others, the following:
- Immoral, disgraceful or any other repeated unforgivable behavior resulting in serious deterioration of the marital relationship, which makes it intolerable for the applicant to continue to live with his/her spouse.
- An attempt against life, e.g. physical abuse.
- Final sentencing to a term of imprisonment longer than seven years
- Sexual incapacity present at the time of marriage and which continues for at least six months and including the time the action is brought.
- Persistent refusal to give birth to a child despite the other spouse’s desire and/or attempts.
- Separation for a continuous period of four years.
Generally, the applicant must establish that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The applicant may also invoke/prove that the respondent has behaved in such a way that the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to continue to live with him/her.
Regarding the procedure, in the event of religious weddings a letter should be dispatched to the Archbishop with the name of the applicant as sender. With such letter the intention of the applicant to file a divorce is notified. The letter shall be sent by registered post. The right to file an application for a divorce in Court is obtained 3 months after receipt of the letter by the Archbishop.
In the event of civil weddings, the party concerned can file a divorce application at any time before the Family Court, without any preceding action.
Furthermore, it should be noted that in Greece and in other jurisdictions, when both parties consent/agree with the divorce, then they both have to sign a series of documents in order for the marriage to be dissolved.
On the other hand, in Cyprus even if both parties agree to the divorce there is not such an option, as the one mentioned above, so the ordinary procedure should be followed. In practice, this means that the one party simply avoids appointing a lawyer, so that the applicant can proceed in his/her absence and the divorce may be issued within a very short period of time.
However if the respondent does not consent to the divorce application, then he/she can appoint a lawyer and proceed with the filing of an objection but in this case the whole procedure will take much longer.
Concerning the divorce application a number of details should be provided from the person concerned to the lawyer of his/her choice, including among others the Certificate of Marriage, the exact day that the wedding took place, the reasons for the divorce, etc. Once the divorce application is ready, it is filed in the Court and served to the other side/party involved.
Last but not least, the legal consequence of the divorce decision is only that the marriage is dissolved. This decision does not affect any property disputes that may arise, any custody proceedings (with the exception of divorces granted due to the physical abuse of children) and neither does it entail an obligation to pay maintenance to the other spouse. All these are independent procedures, which can be brought before the Courts only by way of filing separate applications.
For more information concerning the divorce procedure in Cyprus or other matters arising from the dissolution of a marriage, do not hesitate to contact us