According to the latest demographic report of the Statistical Service of Cyprus for the year 2009, the number of divorces is increasing. Particularly, in 2009 the number of divorces increased to 1738, compared to 1639 for 2008.
Main ground of divorce
In Cyprus, the grounds recognized for divorce are stipulated in A. 111 of the Cyprus Constitution. According to the Cyprus Constitution, in order to proceed with a divorce claim, “the existence of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage attributable to the respondent or both of the spouses that rendered the continuation of the marital relationship intolerable”, must be proven.
● Immoral or dishonorable behavior;
● Absence of one spouse for a continuous period of three years;
● Desertion or an attempt against the life of the Petioner;
● Desertion against the life of the children’s petioner by the Respondent;
● Imprisonment of the Petioner for six years;
● Death of one of the spouses;
● Change of religion or the exercise of moral pressure upon the children to change religion;
● Persistent refusal to have a child;
● Insanity for a period exceeding three years;
If the marriage was celebrated in Church, before the divorce petition is filed, the Bishop will try to reconcile the couple. In order for this meeting to take place a notification must be sent to the Bishop which will be stating all the reasons in relation to which the couple wishes to file for a divorce. After a three month period has elapsed from when the Bishop received the notification, the parties will then be able to proceed with their divorce application to the Family Court. It must be noted that the above procedure does not apply if one of the parties went missing, was declared dead or insane.
In relation to property disputes a separate application from the divorce petition must be made to the court.
The Cyprus Family Court has the discretion to award property to one of the spouses who does not own it for reasons of equity. However ownership is the main criterion for the Court during separation. The Court will though take into consideration any contribution made by one spouse which benefited towards the increase in the total assets or property owned by the other spouse during the period of marriage. According to Article 14 of the Cyprus Constitution: “where the property of the one spouse has increased during marriage and the other spouse has contributed to that increase in any way, he or she is entitled to demand from the court the part of the increase that is attributed to his or her own contribution, usually being 1/3 of the total property”.