Mediation in Financial Support of the Spouse and Children
Family Mediation is now a fact. With the enactment of Law 62(I)/2019, on Mediation in Family Disputes, all family disputes (except assignment or removal of parental responsibility) can be resolved through mediation. One such dispute relates to the child support of children as well as alimony.
Factors that are Always Considered in Family Mediation
In all disputes relating to family mediation, the following factors are considered:
(a) Encouraging consensual approaches to reduce conflicts and hostility between parties in family disputes and to improve communication between all family members;
(b) limiting the negative effects of family conflicts;
(c) supporting and maintaining relationships between family members, in particular parents and children;
(d) safeguarding the best interests of the child;
(e) encouraging the shared parental responsibility for the care, well-being and development of children, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as any other Convention relating to the rights of the child ratified by the Republic, regardless of the marital status and living conditions of either parent; and
(f) the minimisation of the disputed issues and the final settlement of the family dispute in a shorter period of time than is required for its settlement through court proceedings.
Furthermore, a mediator in a family dispute must:
(1) in cases that the dispute concerns or affects a child generally or partially, hear the views of the child and must take them into account in accordance with the age and degree of maturity of the child; and
(2) take special care of the child’s well-being and interests, encourage the parents to focus on the child’s needs and remind them of their primary responsibility for the child’s well-being, as well as the need to inform and take into account the child’s point of view.
Child Support and Mediation
According to the Law, it is possible to reach an agreement relating to the financial support of children through mediation. Note that a child is defined as any person under the age of eighteen (18).
Child support is given to the parent who has custody and care of the children. Therefore, this parent can use family mediation in relation to the specific dispute. During mediation the mediator should take into account the needs of the child under consideration, the standard of living of the child before the separation of the parents and the financial ability of the parents.
Note that in order to determine the financial capacity of the parents, in addition to their real income, the possible income must also be taken into account.
The usual expenses that should be taken into account when mediating for Child Support in Cyprus are, inter alia the following (divided between the parents):
- Water and electricity bills
- Municipal/Community fees
- Telephone and internet bills
- Transportation costs
- Clothing and footwear
- Medical expenses
- Entertainment and pocket money
- Personal care expenses
When the child is over the age of 18, family mediation is not possible.
Alimony and Mediation
According to the Law, the financial support of a spouse (or Alimony) is the monthly payment from one spouse to the other. In the case of a divorce, one or both spouses can appoint a mediator to agree on the amount of alimony they will have to pay.
It is not always the case that a spouse is entitled to alimony. More precisely, alimony can be ordered by the court in four distinct scenarios. Two of them apply to cases after separation and the other two apply to cases after the divorce. The cases are the following:
After the divorce
- If at the time of the divorce, the spouse, due to his/her age or health condition is not able to work so as to cater for basic necessities or
- If it is considered fair under the circumstances
After the separation
- If a spouse to whom custody of a minor or child over the age of 18 is granted, whose physical or mental condition does not allow him or her to work, or
- If the spouse cannot find a suitable job or needs training before he/she can find a suitable job. In any case, the period may not exceed three years from the date of the divorce.
The obligation to pay alimony may be on either spouse. The spouse with the lowest contribution to the cost of living during the marriage is entitled to alimony from the spouse who had the highest contribution. In order to assess the needs of the beneficiary spouse, all the circumstances are taken into account, including the conditions that existed during the marital cohabitation but also new needs that arise due to the separation.
The obligation to pay alimony may not apply in cases where the marriage was short-lived or where the spouse who would be entitled to alimony is seriously at fault for the dissolution of the marriage.
The above information does not constitute legal advice.