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PUBLICATIONS 

Family Law (Child Custody and Maintenance Proceedings) in Cyprus

Family disputes are hard to tackle when it comes to a break up. Especially if children are involved. In such situations, questions often arise as to which of the parents will take care of the children and what the amount of maintenance will have to be paid by the other.

Child Custody Proceedings:

After the spouses become estranged and provided children are involved, child custody proceedings will most likely take place in order to determine which of the parents will take the custody of the children. In such cases, the Family Courts of Cyprus issue 3 kinds of decrees. The first one is the parental care decree, the second one is the child custody decree and the third one is the communications decree.

The usual occurrence is for the court to award a parental care decree to both spouses. The child custody decree will be awarded to one of the parents whilst the other parent will as a matter of course be granted a communications decree.
In cases where there is a disagreement between the spouses, the court appoints an officer of the Social Welfare Services to prepare a report which the court will take into account in ordering any of the abovementioned decrees.

It is noted that, it is the parent on whose benefit the child custody decree has been issued who can apply for an order relating to child maintenance. The child maintenance order is analysed below.

Child Maintenance Proceedings:

The Family Courts of Cyprus are the ones which have jurisdiction to issue child maintenance orders. Child maintenance orders are issued on the application of the spouse who has been awarded the custody of the child and against the spouse who has been awarded the communications decree. Such orders are issued in the following circumstances:

a) Where the child is underage (until the age of 18). The amount of the maintenance ordered is determined by taking into account the needs of the child, the standard of living the child had prior to the estrangement of the spouses as well as the means of its parents. It is to be noted that the means of its parents does not only include financial means but it also includes the actual opportunity to earn a salary. For example, if someone is healthy enough and has the skills required to take on work, this is to be taken into account, irrespective of whether he/she has work or not.

b) Where the child is an adult, the adult child can file its own application for maintenance against his/her mother or father. The adult child is allowed to maintenance provided that special circumstances exist. Such circumstances exist where the adult child is a soldier or student. If the adult child is a university or college student, he/she can apply for maintenance provided that he/she was a good student and that he/she maintains a good relationship with the parent against whom the application for maintenance is made.

We know that child custody battles are very distressing and emotional for you and in many cases have similar effects on the children involved. We also know that it is difficult to discuss in detail all the agonizing details of what is regarded as strictly private. Our experienced lawyers can help you through this difficult time by providing legal advice on how to overcome the hurdles involved. Full confidentiality is always our priority.

This article is given for information purposes only and it does not constitute legal advice. Please give us a call if you would like to book a consultation with a specialist in this area from our office. We will be happy to assist you.

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PUBLICATIONS 

Family Law (Divorce) in Cyprus

The Family Courts of Cyprus have jurisdiction to adjudicate on divorce proceedings provided that the spouses (or one of them) reside permanently in Cyprus for a period of at least 3 months prior to the application for divorce.

Provided that this condition is met, the Family Courts of Cyprus can decide on the dissolution of any marriage irrespective of whether this is a religious wedding or a civil wedding and irrespective of the place at which the marriage was celebrated. The religion of the parties is also not taken into account for the purposes of divorce proceedings in Cyprus.

In accordance with the Family Courts Law (Law 23/90) an application for the dissolution of the marriage can be filed, among other reasons, whenever the marriage has been shattered for reasons relating to the other spouse or to both of the spouses and which has the result that the continuation of marital life for the applicant has become intolerable.

The shattering of the marriage includes inter alia, a disparity in the characters of the spouses.

A consensual divorce is not legal under the Cyprus legal system. However, provided that there is a continuing separation between the spouses for a period of over 4 years, any of the spouses can file for a divorce. In such a case, the court will grant a divorce irrespective of who is responsible for the shattering of the marriage.

This article is given for information purposes only and it does not constitute legal advice. Please give us a call if you would like to book a consultation with a specialist in this area from our office. We will be happy to assist you.

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PUBLICATIONS 

Family Law (Property Disputes) in Cyprus

The Family Courts of Cyprus have jurisdiction to resolve any property disputes between estranged or divorced spouses provided that the assets over which the dispute is about (movable or immovable) are situated in Cyprus.

Increase in the assets

For the assets to be the subject of the dispute, what is taken into account, is the increase in the assets held by the spouse defending the action from the time of the marriage (or on the prospect of marriage). Any increase in the assets after the couple becomes estranged (this period does not have to be the time of the divorce; it can be an earlier period where the couple started living separately) cannot be the subject of a property dispute.

As mentioned earlier, what is important is the increase in the assets. For example, if the spouse defending the action had, prior to the marriage (or the prospect of marriage), a house belonging to him/her, that cannot be the subject of the dispute. If, however, an extra floor was built on the house after the marriage (or the prospect of marriage), that may well be the subject of the dispute. The same applies for money held in a bank, shares, bonds or other movable property held by the defending spouse.

Any gifts made by third parties (such as parents) are excluded from the property in dispute. In relation to gifts made between the spouses, these will be taken into account by the court for the purposes of arriving to a just result.

The decision of the court on the portion of the increased assets to be awarded to the spouse applying for a contribution in the increase in the assets depends on the contribution made by that spouse. In case the applicant is a housewife who has not contributed financially, it is a rebuttable presumption that he/she is to be awarded 1/3rd of the increase in the assets.

Prenuptial agreements

It is to be noted that prenuptial agreements are not recognized by our legal system and they are therefore void. The parties can however, after the period of separation, agree on the way their property disputes are to be settled. Such an agreement is binding between the parties and has full legal effect as any other legally binding contract. A breach of such an agreement can only be tried at District Courts of Cyprus and not the Family Courts of Cyprus.

Order for the disclosure of assets

In accordance with the Property, Relations of Spouses and other Related Matters Law of 1991 (Law 232/91), in cases where one of the spouses is uninformed of the assets owned by the other, then he/she can file a petition to the court so that the court orders the other spouse to make a full disclosure of the assets he/she owned at the time of the separation or at any other time ordered by the court. Failure of that spouse to disclose such assets is contempt of the court and can be punished by imprisonment.

Time limit of bringing the action

It is important to note that 3 years after the divorce of the spouses, bringing an action relating to property disputes is time barred.

This article is given for information purposes only and it does not constitute legal advice. Please give us a call if you would like to book a consultation with a specialist in this area from our office. We would be pleased to assist you.

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