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Divorce in Cyprus for spouses residing outside Cyprus

The question which may arise in many cases is under which circumstances may someone apply for a divorce in Cyprus. This question is especially important in cases where the applicant resides outside Cyprus and the respondent resides in Cyprus, or cases where the applicant resides outside Cyprus and the respondent in Cyprus – or even cases where both the respondent and the applicant reside outside Cyprus.

When can a court in Cyprus grant a divorce against a person living outside Cyprus?

Courts in Cyprus have jurisdiction to grant a divorce in Cyprus provided that both of the spouses are habitually resident in Cyprus.

Applying for a divorce in Cyprus if the Applicant resides in Cyprus and the Respondent resides outside Cyprus.

In case the applicant lives in Cyprus, then s/he can apply for a divorce in Cyprus provided that both spouses were last habitually resident in Cyprus.

If both spouses were not last habitually resident in Cyprus, then there are two scenarios in which one of them may apply for a divorce in Cyprus. One, is that the applicant is not a national of Cyprus – in such case s/he will need to have resided in Cyprus for at least a year prior to applying for a divorce. The other scenario is that the applicant is a national of Cyprus – and in such a case s/he can apply for a divorce in Cyprus if s/he had resided in Cyprus for at least 6 months prior to applying for a divorce.

Furthermore, under Cyprus Family Law, the court has jurisdiction to hear an application for divorce if the applicant or the respondent were residing in Cyprus for a continuous period of 3 months prior to the application.

That was the case of Holubova n. Mehmet Ali (2003) which dealt with an application for divorce by which a national of the Czech Republic filed for divorce in Cyprus against her Turkish Cypriot husband. Their marriage was effected in the Czech Republic. The Cyprus Supreme Court in deciding that the divorce application could be filed in Cyprus, stated that:

Family Courts have jurisdiction over a dispute concerning the dissolution of a civil marriage between spouses, whether they are Cypriot citizens or not, provided that they or one of them resides in Cyprus for a continuous period beyond three months.

Procedure

In case the Respondent does not live in Cyprus, it is necessary for the Applicant to request for the permission of the court to file and seal the Divorce Application. As soon as this is granted, the Applicant will file an application for permission to serve the Divorce Application filed in Cyprus, outside the jurisdiction of Cyprus together with an order of substitute service (for example by sending the Divorce application via DHL, or other means) supported by Affidavit.

Applying for a divorce in Cyprus if the Applicant does not reside in Cyprus

In case the applicant does not reside in Cyprus, then s/he can apply for a divorce in Cyprus provided that the respondent habitually resides in Cyprus. Under Cyprus Family Law, a continuous period of 3 months will suffice.

In case the applicant does not live in Cyprus but is a Cyprus national, s/he can apply for a divorce provided that the spouse is also a Cyprus national. This is irrespective of whether the spouses are habitually resident in Cyprus.

This article is given for information purposes only and it does not constitute legal advice. For further information and advice please contact Mrs. Maria Skarpari  at skarpari@dhadjinestoros.com

 You may visit our Main Family Law Page Here.

Key People

Maria Skarpari Senior Associate
Maria Skarpari has over 25 years of experience in family law representing hundreds of clients in the Cyprus Family Courts. She has also vast experience in negotiations, litigation and banking and finance law.

Frequently Asked Questions on Cyprus Family Law

Is a prenuptial agreement recognised in Cyprus?

No, a prenuptial agreement is not recognised in Cyprus, but after separation the couple may decide on how their property will be legally separated between them through an agreement.

Is a divorce required prior to filing an application for child custody, maintenance or to resolve property disputes?

No, under Cyprus Family Law, your rights to file applications for all the above begin after separation, therefore there is no need to wait for the divorce before you determine those issues.

Who gets the custody of the children in case of a divorce in Cyprus?

Under Cyprus Family Law only one of the parents will get the custody of the children. In practice that means usually the wife, although there are circumstances where the husband will be allowed custody. As a matter of course, the other parent will be allowed communication with the children for some periods during the week.

How is child support calculated under Cyprus Family Law?

Under Cyprus Family Law, child Support in Cyprus is given to the parent who has been granted custody of the child. Typical expenses calculated for child support are food supplies, water and electricity bills, rent, phone and internet bills, shoes and clothes as well as doctor’s fees. You can find out more by visiting this page.

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