Greek Family Law
Divorce in Greece
Facing a divorce in Greece, or navigating an international divorce involving Greek jurisdiction, adds legal complexities to an already emotionally charged situation, often experienced as one of the most difficult experiences anyone can face in life.
Understanding your rights and obligations, dealing with property division, child custody and potential international legal considerations can be overwhelming.
As attorneys experienced in international divorce in Greece, we are ready to handle all the legal aspects of your divorce so that you can focus on your emotional well-being and start a new chapter in your life.
Remember that you are not alone in this process, contact our law firm today for professional legal assistance if you are going through a divorce in Greece.
Greek Divorce Law
Divorce law in Greece is primarily governed by the Greek Civil Code.
The Civil Code sets out the relevant legal provisions and procedures for divorce in Greece. In addition, family law matters, including divorce, may also be affected by international conventions to which Greece is a party, as well as European Union regulations, where applicable.
Greek divorce law recognizes two main types of divorce: consensual divorce (Συναινετικό Διαζύγιο) and contested divorce (Διαζύγιο για λόγους διάστασης).
(Διαζύγιο για λόγους διάστασης)
Divorce by Consent
The cornerstone of a consensual divorce is the mutual decision of both spouses to end their marriage. This mutual agreement indicates that both parties have voluntarily decided to separate, without coercion or undue influence, and is therefore typically simpler and quicker than a contested divorce because it relies on the cooperation and consensus of the parties involved.
In a consensual divorce, the spouses must come to an agreement on all major aspects of the dissolution of their marriage, such as child custody arrangements, alimony or spousal support, and the division of marital property and assets. The ability to agree on these terms is crucial, as it allows for a smoother and more amicable divorce process.
The process begins with the drafting of a divorce agreement, which is then presented to a competent judge or notary. The involvement of these legal authorities ensures that the agreement is fair, complies with Greek law and adequately protects the rights of both parties and any children involved. Once the agreement is signed and ratified by the judge or notary, the divorce becomes legally binding. The marriage is officially dissolved and both parties are obligated to abide by the terms of their agreement.
Compared to contested divorce, consensual divorce offers a simpler legal route. Because the major issues have already been agreed upon by both parties, there is no need for lengthy court battles or extensive legal proceedings. This not only saves time and reduces stress for both individuals, but also minimizes legal fees.
Contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot agree on the terms of their separation or when one spouse opposes the divorce. Compared to collaborative divorce, this process is characterized by a higher level of conflict and legal intervention.
The process begins when one spouse files a petition for divorce with the court. This is usually done when there are irreconcilable differences or specific grounds for divorce, such as infidelity, desertion, or marital discord. Unlike a collaborative divorce, which is based on mutual agreement, a contested divorce requires the petitioner to establish valid grounds for dissolution of the marriage. These grounds must be legally recognized and sufficiently proven in court.
In a contested divorce, the process involves court hearings where both parties present their arguments, evidence and testimony. The court considers all aspects of the case, including the grounds for divorce and issues related to child custody, alimony and property division.
It is the court that makes decisions on all disputed issues, including the terms of the divorce, financial arrangements, and child custody. Once the court reaches a decision, it issues a divorce decree that legally dissolves the marriage. This decree is binding and enforces the terms of the divorce, including any financial settlements and child custody arrangements.
Contested divorces are often lengthy and can take several months to years to resolve, depending on the complexity of the case and the court’s schedule.
Property and Houses After a Divorce in Greece
The division of property and houses following a divorce in Greece is governed by specific legal principles and regulations, and is usually determined as part of the divorce proceedings.
The marital property regime of the spouses may affect the division of property upon divorce. In a regime of separate property (χωριστή περιουσία), each spouse retains ownership of property acquired before and during the marriage.
If the spouses acquired community property during the marriage, that property is usually divided equally upon divorce. Joint property can include real estate, bank accounts, investments and other significant assets.
However, there are many specific factors that a court may consider to ensure a fair and equitable division of property, taking into account the unique situation of each divorcing couple.
Child Custody After a Divorce in Greece
Child custody arrangements following a divorce in Greece are guided primarily by the principle of the best interests of the child. In making custody decisions, the Greek legal system prioritizes the child’s welfare and emotional well-being.
Traditionally, Greek law has favored awarding custody to one parent (usually the mother), especially for younger children. However, there’s a growing trend towards joint custody arrangements, reflecting modern views on parenting and the right of both parents to be involved in their child’s life. Joint custody allows both parents to share responsibility and decision making for the child.
Of course, because each case is unique, it is important to consider the child’s age, physical and emotional needs, relationship with each parent, each parent’s ability to provide for the child, and any history of family violence or substance abuse.
Depending on the child’s age and maturity, the court may also consider the child’s wishes. Older children are often given the opportunity to express their preferences, although this is not the sole determining factor.
The noncustodial parent is usually granted visitation rights to ensure continued contact and relationship with the child.
Financial Support (Alimony) After a Divorce in Greece
The purpose of alimony in Greek family law is to ensure the financial well-being of a spouse who may be financially disadvantaged after a divorce. It is not automatically awarded in every divorce case. Instead, it is determined based on the financial needs of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay.
Typically, the spouse who earns less or who may have sacrificed career opportunities for the sake of the marriage or family is more likely to be awarded alimony.
The amount and duration of alimony payments are determined by the court and depend on several factors, such as:
- The length of the marriage
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Age and health of both spouses
- Financial resources and earning capacity
- Contributions to the welfare of the family
Alimony can be temporary or permanent.
- Temporary alimony can be awarded during the divorce proceedings and until the final decree is issued.
- Permanent alimony can be awarded for a specific period of time or indefinitely, depending on circumstances such as the recipient’s ability to become self-sufficient or until the recipient remarries.
Alimony agreements are not necessarily fixed and can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income, remarriage of the recipient, or other major life events.
If a spouse fails to make the agreed-upon alimony payments, legal action can be taken to enforce payment.
It is important to distinguish between alimony and child support. Alimony is intended for the financial support of the ex-spouse, while child support is a separate payment intended for the care and upbringing of children from the marriage.
Are You Facing a Divorce in Greece? We Can help!
If you are going through a divorce in Greece, contact us for legal advice and guidance tailored to your individual circumstances.
At Leptokaridou Law Firm we are experts in international divorces in Greece and when one of the spouses is of Greek origin.
We will be at your side in both a collaborative and a contested divorce:
- Drafting and reviewing agreements: In the case of an amicable divorce, our firm can help draft or review the divorce agreement to ensure that it is fair, comprehensive and legally binding, and that all necessary issues are addressed, such as property division, child custody and support arrangements.
- Protecting your interests: Our goal will always be to protect your interests, especially in complex situations involving significant assets, child custody disputes, or when there are disagreements about the terms of the divorce.
- Representation in negotiations: We will represent you in negotiations with your spouse or their attorney in contested divorces where property division, alimony and child custody agreements must be negotiated.
- Court representation: If your divorce case goes to court, we will act as your advocate, presenting your case, arguing on your behalf, and working to achieve a favorable outcome.
* The information on this site is provided for the sole purpose of illustrating the subject matter. It in no way constitutes legal advice nor a substitute for individual legal advice provided by counsel. Each case is unique, presents unique circumstances, and should be evaluated in detail by an attorney who will verify its specific circumstances.
Contact Leptokaridou Law Firm
Get a Divorce in Greece
Divorce can be an emotionally charged process. At Leptokaridou Law Firm, in addition to objective, pragmatic advice to help you make decisions that are in your best interest and not based on emotion, you will always find people who fully understand you and are ready to support you during this challenging time. Contact us to discuss your divorce in Greece.
We Help You With Your Divorce in Greece
We are here to advise you and stand by your side as you go through a divorce in Greece. Write or call us today to fully protect your interests in this process.
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