Monday 10 December 2018
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Divorcing in Cyprus? Here’s How to Move on with Your Life Legally


T
he crude divorce rate in Cyprus is increasing at 2.2 per thousand population in 2013 up from 1.7 in 2000 representing 1,857 marriages. Divorce is often a stressful experience that affects couples and any child or children they might have. Picking up the pieces and getting back your life is completely possible once the legal boundaries are defined. While not everything may turn out as you want it, it is vital that the break up should be settled legally.

Custody of Children

According to Eurostat, 47.4% of divorced couples in 2013 reported no children below 18 years while 26.8% had 1 child, 19.7% 2 and 5.2% declared 3 or more offspring. For divorcing couples, the question of who gets custody of the kids arises. Handled by the Family Courts of Cyprus, the usual proceeding is to issue three decrees which are parental care, child custody and communications decree.

In January 2018, the Cabinet approved several bills to make divorce easier and faster as well as better for children. Custody can be awarded to one spouse, both parents or third parties.  A judge can even order parents to undergo therapy or training programs to keep better relations with the children. This is also helpful when planning another family or building new relations with a partner who may have children to co-exist with an extended family.

Division of Property

Assets remain one of the most contentious issues among divorcing couples. Law 232/1991 or the Law Regulating Property Relations of Spouses in Cyprus is the legal basis for property disputes.  Pending finalization of the divorce, the Court may decree the use of part or the entire family home exclusively to one of the spouses irrespective of who owns the property to preserve the welfare of the spouse or the family and children. The order is void when the divorce is finalized.

Personal properties of a divorcing couple remain intact even after marriage. In the event of a divorce, a partner can claim ownership rights to a spouse’s property if it can be proven that he/she has contributed to the increase of value of the asset in question. Even if the contribution cannot be proven in court, the claimant can obtain a third of the value of the property. Under Cypriot laws, the increase in value of an asset is not only through monetary contributions. You enhance the value of a property by taking care of your kids, providing emotional support to a spouse and caring for/maintaining a household.

The dissolution of a marriage is never easy but moving on with your life is less complicated once the legal entanglements are sorted out. Defining the custody of kids, alimony, if applicable and division of assets are crucial components of a divorce that must be settled first to give closure to a relationship that broke down.

By: Jennifer Pitman

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