N. Pirilides & Associates LLC has vast experience acting in high net worth divorces in Cyprus, especially in relation to disputes over the division of matrimonial property which admittedly are the most complicated and contested part of the divorce process; such disputes are rarely straightforward as they often involve consideration of property held by companies in Cyprus or abroad, international trusts, preliminary disputes over the jurisdiction of the Cyprus Courts and other complex issues.
It should be pointed out as a starting point that Family Courts in Cyprus have jurisdiction to adjudicate upon property disputes of ex-spouses regardless of the residence of either of the parties, provided that there is ‘property’ within the meaning attributed to the aforesaid term by Section 2 of Law No. 232/1991. According to Section 2 of the aforesaid Law, ‘property’ is any movable or immovable property/assets/wealth acquired by any of the spouses, either prior to the marriage but with the prospect of marriage, or after the marriage has taken place.
Section 14(1) of the same, provides that, in the event of separation or divorce, where the property/assets of a spouse have been increased, the other spouse, if he/she has contributed in any way to the said increase of the property/assets, he/she may file an action to the Court claiming the attribution of the part of the increase derived from his/her contribution. It is clear from the provisions of Section 14(1) that a potential claimant must prove (1) a lawful marriage (religious or civil), (2) increase of the respondent’s property/assets either prior to the marriage but with the prospect of marriage or after the marriage and (3) contribution to the acquisition of such property/assets’ increase. Moreover, according to paragraph (2) of Section 14 of Law No. 232/1991 there is a rebuttable presumption that the claimant – spouse has contributed to the 1/3 of the increase of the matrimonial property. Therefore, if the claimant–spouse wishes to claim only the said 1/3 proportion presumed under Section 14(2), he/she is not obliged to prove the extent of his/her contribution but must merely prove an increase of the respondent’s property/assets. On the other hand, the respondent may attempt and succeed in rebutting the presumption of Section 14(2) and prove less than 1/3 or even no contribution on behalf of the said claimant-spouse.
Also, in support of a complex matrimonial property claim, the claimant spouse regularly seeks the issue of an interlocutory freezing injunction (formerly known as ‘Mareva’ injunction) in order to prevent any dissipation of assets from the respondent spouse until a judgment can be obtained. In essence, such an interlocutory order prohibits the respondent spouse from alienating assets or dealing with assets in such a way as to defeat the claim.
N. Pirilides & Associates LLC represents clients seeking to protect their assets and equally those fighting for their fair share in the marital wealth. Our experienced Family Law team will take the time to capture the details of each client’s unique situation, provide guidance and advice as to each stage of the legal process and of course aim to get the best possible result for the client. For further information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.