Amendments to Cyprus Divorce Laws

The Laws amending the Marriage Law (104/03), the Family Courts Law (23/90) and the Attempted Conciliation and Spiritual Resolution of Marriage Law (22/90) have now been published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus.

The amendments introduce measures aimed at streamlining and easing court processes, establishing consensual divorce, and implementing guidelines to support the dissolution of marriage in instances of physical, mental, or sexual abuse.  Key changes brought about by these amendments include:

  1. The period of separation needed to file for divorce has been shortened from four years to two years following the enactment of the amendments. This means that parties can pursue a divorce after two years of separation.
  1. Mutual consent from both parties is now recognised as a valid ground for divorce. This is applicable after six months of marriage, and if the couple has children, arrangements regarding their custody and visitation rights must be legally established.
  1. The ability for individuals under 18 years of age to enter into marriage is now prohibited.
  1. The grounds for divorce for all marriages are now as follows, with all other grounds for divorce abolished:
    1. The irretrievable breakdown of the marriage to which the presumption of irretrievable breakdown is satisfied in case of bigamy, adultery, desertion or violence against the plaintiff or the child.
    2. Two year separation.
    3. The consent of both spouses to the dissolution of the marriage.
    4. The change of gender of either of the two spouses.
    5. Spouse declared missing.
    6. The death of either of the two spouses.
  1. Divorce proceedings will now be heard by a single judge instead of three.
  1. All cases involving the same parties shall be heard by the same judge. This may also apply where proceedings are pending between the same parties in different localities.
  1. Courts for religious groups have been dissolved, with family matters now exclusively under the jurisdiction of the Family Courts.
  1. Family Judges have the authority to mandate child counselling or psychological support independently of parental approval.
  1. Post-divorce, the decree for the exclusive use of the matrimonial home or a part thereof can be extended up to two years.
  1. Applications can now consolidate claims related to child custody, spousal support, and the use of the matrimonial home and personal property.
  1. The courts have the authority to request a report detailing the financial incomes of both parties.
  1. Courts may issue interim orders concerning child custody, spousal support, and the exclusive use of the matrimonial home or use of personal property on its own motion.
  1. The timeframe for filing a divorce petition following a religious marriage has been reduced to 6 weeks from the previous 3 months from the receipt of the notification of the intention to file the divorce petition by the competent bishop.
  1. In the event that the reason for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage due to violence, the requirement for notification is waived if the violence has been reported to the police and documented.
  1. For Greek Orthodox marriages, notifications can now be submitted online through the official website of the Archdiocese.

The full versions of the Amendments can be found at 4932-23/12/2022 PARARTHMA 1o MEROS I and 4933-13/1/2023 PARARTHMA 1o MEROS I