JT Law's Sydney team
The Greek Courts have jurisdiction for the issuance of divorces in Greece involving the dissolution of a marriage if one of the spouses is a Greek citizen, if the spouses had their last common residency in Greece, or if the defendant in a divorce lawsuit has his permanent residency in Greece.
According to Article 1438 of the Greek Civil Code, the marriage is dissolved only after the issuance of a final Court Judgment, which is no longer subject to any appeal, objection etc. According to the Civil Code there are two different procedures for the issuance of a divorce in Greece: the uncontested divorce and the contested divorce.
The procedure for the issuance of a consensual divorce before the Greek Courts is simpler in comparison with the procedure of the contested divorce and the time required for its issuance is usually less. An indispensable precondition in order to proceed with the issuance of an uncontested divorce in Greece is the agreement of the spouses to proceed jointly with the dissolution of a marriage through an uncontested divorce. Moreover, the spouses can file their petition for the dissolution of their marriage before the Court, only if the marriage has lasted for more than one year. The spouses have to file a common petition before the competent Court. Two hearings should take place for the issuance of the divorce in Greece and the interval between the two hearings should be more than six months. During the two hearings the spouses should be present or should be represented by virtues of a recently executed Special Power of Attorney in order to declare their consent for the dissolution of the marriage. In case that there are minor children, it is necessary according to the Article 1441 of the Civil Code that the spouses submit to the Court a written agreement regarding the custody of the children and the communication with the children.
If the spouses do not agree to proceed with the issuance of an uncontested divorce in Greece, the only solution is to proceed with the issuance of a contested divorce. According to the Civil Code there are specific reasons for which a person can request the dissolution of a marriage. Those reasons are the following: a. if the other spouse has disappeared for many years and there is a Court Judgment issued recognizing that the specific person should be legally considered as not living, b. if there is an irretrievable break down of the marriage relationship due to reasons that concern the defendant or both of the spouses, c. if there is an irretrievable break down of the marriage relationship due to the fact that the there is no actual or sentimental relationship between the spouses for more than four years. The Court issues the Judgment dissolving the marriage if it is proven that one of the above mentioned reasons exists. The marriage is dissolved at the time that the Court Judgment becomes final.
After the issuance of a final divorce Judgment, the persons should proceed with the registration of the divorce in Greece with the competent registry and with their family's record in the competent municipality. If the wedding took place in Greece and was solemnised in a religious ceremony, it is necessary in order to proceed with the registration of the divorce with the registry and the municipality to procure a certificate for the religious dissolution of the marriage from the competent church authority.
In October 2008, legislation was submitted before the Greek Parliament, which includes some important amendments to the Family Law. The specific draft of law includes a provision according to which the breakdown of the marriage relationship is considered a reason for the issuance of the divorce if the spouses do not have an actual and sentimental relationship for more than two years, and not four year as earlier.
In case that the marriage has been dissolved by virtue of a judgment issued by the Courts of a foreign country, but the persons are interested in the divorce Judgment being valid in Greece as well, the procedure required for the recognition of a foreign Judgment should be followed. For this purpose a lawsuit should be filed before the competent Court of First Instance. The Court will issue a decision recognising that the divorce judgment is enforceable in Greece, provided that the preconditions of Article 323 of the Civil Procedure Code are met.
All the above procedures for the issuance of a divorce, alimony, child support, and child custody can be accomplished through a limited Power of Attorney to specialised Greek lawyers, like our Law Firm.