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13 Nov 2019

Family Law: An overview

Hearing the term Family Law, several connotations and implications spring to mind, according to each person’s life experiences. The notion of family, deeply enshrined into the global community is one of the founding stones of the Cypriot Society, representing one of its core values; hence one of the most important areas in need of comprehensive regulation and legal certainty. Family law may not only help in the enforcement of obligations of members of families upon the breakdown of relationships but also to exercise the rights of families in various instances ranging from immigration, employment, adoption, the recognition of their union in a different country, the enforcement of a judgement related to family matters issued at a foreign court etc.

Our family law practice aims to give members of families precisely the assistance and security they need in this very sensitive area of law and guide them through procedures that are quintessential for their future and shall shape their lives’ course.

In recent times the term ‘family’ has escaped certain traditional boundaries that involved the existence of a religious marriage and has come to encompass all relationships contained in family units, extending to cohabiting partners and other marriage-like structures such as civil partnership. Consequently, rights and obligations under family law have in many circumstances come to apply to such structures as well, since modern family law defines such rights and obligations through not only long-standing legal principles stemming from core societal values but also through rules and regulations that are ever-changing in accordance with the development of the society.

Family Law in Cyprus, as it stands, regulates among others, marriage unions and divorce, adoption, child custody and visitation rights, spouse and domestic abuse and violence, property rights and alimony, and estate planning including inheritance and succession.

In Cyprus, the competent court that has jurisdiction over family disputes in the majority of the cases is the Family Court, while the Republic of Cyprus also recognizes the existence of Family Courts of Religious Groups (namely of the Armenian, the Maronite and the Latin Community which deal with religious marriages that were celebrated in accordance to the canons of these groups). In certain cases such as domestic violence, jurisdiction lies with District Civil or Criminal Courts. In Cyprus, Family Courts are located in Nicosia and Limassol.

Watch this space for our next article on the topics of Marriage and Divorce Rights of Civil Partners and Rights of unmarried couples.

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