Significant amendments were introduced to the existing legislation governing divorce and other family matters in Cyprus, aiming to simplify and modernize the judicial proceedings. The Cyprus Parliament has recently decided upon the modification of the Marriage Law (104(I)/2003), the Family Courts Law 1990 (23/1990) and the Attempted Conciliation and Spiritual Dissolution of Marriage Law (22/1990).
The first significant amendment considers the dissolution of marriage by consent, an option that married people didn’t have until this recent reform, provided that 6 months have passed since the marriage in question. Further, in the event that the parties have children, such order for dissolution by consent may only be granted if the issue of custody and communication has already been regulated by a Court order before the filing of any application for dissolution by consent, or if an application has been submitted with which the parties mutually request the issue of a Court order regulating those matters.
A rather significant change brought about by the amended legislation is the period of separation for a marriage to be deemed as “irreparably broken down” which has now been reduced to 2 years from 4. Once this separation timeframe is proven, the situation is straightforward and the divorce order straightaway issued.
Another important amendment involves the abolition of Article 15 which used to allow children between the age of 16 and 18 to get married, even without the consent of their parents/legal guardian, solely with the permission of the Court.
Family Courts Law
The main amendment is found in Article 3(2). From now on, Family Courts will be consisted by a single judge instead of three judges when it comes to divorce procedures, thus resulting to more efficient proceedings and saving valuable time of the Court’s time schedule.
Attempted Conciliation and Spiritual Dissolution of Marriage Law
By the amendment of Article 4(1), a party may proceed with the filing of a petition for divorce, where the marriage was religious, only after 6 weeks from the receipt of the notification of the party’s intention to file a divorce petition by the competent bishop, instead of 3 months that previously applied under the old legislation.
Taking into account the above, it is expected that Cyprus Family Courts will be operating in a more efficient way, saving a lot of time, as well as expenses.