Mediation and Divorce in Cyprus
Mediation in Family Disputes includes matters of parental responsibility, child support, maintenance of spouses or cohabitants as well as property disputes. According to the relevant Law, on Mediation in Family Disputes (L.62(I)/2019), a family dispute includes a dispute related to the institution of the family except in specific cases (such as the assignment and removal of parental responsibility).
The question arises as to whether in cases of mediation in family disputes a divorce can be agreed between the parties. The short answer is no, and we explain the reasons below.
Divorce in Cyprus
Divorce in Cyprus may be granted in accordance with Article 111(2)B of the Constitution. The reasons are the following:
- Those mentioned in the Statute of the Church of Cyprus. The reasons according to the Statute of the Church are the following:
(b) Immoral, dishonourable, or other conduct of the spouse which leads to the termination of the marital relationship and makes the cohabitation unbearable. Such conduct is, for example, the unjustified overnight stay of the wife in a non-relative home without the consent of her husband when the overnight stay raises reasonable suspicions of adultery. When the husband accuses the wife in court of adultery which has not been proven.
(c) When there is an attempt against the life of another spouse. Physical abuse that may result in physical or mental disability is considered such an “attempt on life”
(d) Another reason for divorce is the insanity of the spouses for more than three years, which makes the cohabitation unbearable.
(e) The final sentencing of the other spouse to imprisonment for a period of more than seven years.
(f) When a spouse disappears.
(g) The impotence of another spouse which continues for more than 6 months.
(h) The unjustified abandonment of the applicant of the family house for two years.
(i) The change of religion or doctrine of belief.
(j) Persistent obstruction of childbearing despite the desire of the other spouse for childbearing.
- When the relations between the spouses have been severely shaken and these reasons concern the person of the defendant or both spouses.
It is noted that based on the Family Courts Law of 1990 (L.23/1990) it is presumed that the relations have been severely shaken for reasons concerning the person of the defendant in cases of bigamy or adultery or abandonment of the applicant or intrusion into his/her life or violence by the defendant, in the sense attributed to the term “violence” under the Law on Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection of Victims).
- For any other reason referred to in the relevant Legislation.
Why is it not possible to mediate in a divorce?
The main reason that it is not possible to mediate in a divorce, is because a divorce is ineligible to be decided or agreed by the parties. It is only through the Court that a divorce can be issued.
Furthermore, in accordance with Law 95/89, consensual Divorce does not exist as a reason for divorce.
Another reason, especially with regard to religious marriages, is that, before someone can file for a petition for a divorce, a relevant notice must be sent to the Bishop requesting the dissolution of the marriage. According to article 3 (1) of the Conciliation Attempt for Spiritual Divorce of Marriage Law of 1990 (L.22/1990):
3.- (1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (2), no action for the dissolution of a marriage shall be registered, unless it has been notified in advance to the competent Bishop in accordance with the Law.
The filing of a petition for divorce may take place after the lapse of three months from the receipt of the notification by the Bishop. Therefore, it is only then that a relevant petition can be filed. The Law does not mention or refer to an agreement between the parties (which will be the result of mediation).
Sending such a letter is something which does not sit well with the notion of mediation of family disputes. For this reason, mediation and divorce in Cyprus cannot coexist.
We note that there is no obstacle for the parties to agree on the date of their separation in the context of family mediation.
The above information does not constitute legal advice.