With the recent adoption of a new law in Cyprus by the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, which was published and became effective as of the 9th December 2015 under the name “the Civil Partnerships Law, L.184(I)/2015”, it has now become possible that “two heterosexual or homosexual persons“ conclude a “written agreement“, which is known as the civil partnership agreement, conferring to the executing parties similar rights (but not entirely identical) to a marriage under Cyprus Law.
Given the fact that the law is new, the following may act as a short guide for quick reference to its main provisions:
1. Who can participate in a Civil Partnership?
The prerequisites for the two parties participating in the registration of a Civil Partnership are as follows:
- Both parties must be at least 18 years old; and
- Both parties must be capable to take such decision on their own free will (what is to say, neither party must not suffer from any mental disorders, illnesses, addictions, be of unsound mind, etc); and
- Both parties must give their free consent to such Civil Partnership (that is to say, neither party must be under threat, undue pressure or be in any way coerced to consent).
2. Key procedural matters for a Civil PartnershipThe main steps to the procedure of concluding a Civil Partnership are as follows:
- The Parties must agree the terms to a relevant Civil Partnership and have a draft of this Agreement;
- The Agreement must then be signed by both Parties, in person, before the Civil Registrar in the district where at least one of them resides. In case that both Parties are non-Cyprus residents, then they can select any district Civil Registrar;
- Two witnesses of at least 18 years old and of sound mind must also co-sing the relevant agreement.
3. Documentation Required
The Parties to a Civil Partnership must have readily available to present the following documents:
- National Identity Card or a Passport or any other equivalent official travel document;
- Sworn Affidavit stating:
- that he/she has not concluded any other marriage or civil partnership which is still valid; and
- that he/she is not aware of any impediment to the registration of the civil partnership between the parties; and
- that the required consent is granted.
- Duly certified original or copy of a certificate, testifying his/her marital status (i.e. freedom to marry or to conclude a civil partnership agreement) or any other official equivalent document.
It must be noted that the Civil Partnership will enter into force on the date of its submission and such date will be stated on the relevant certificate issued by the Cyprus Authorities.
4. Cases where the Civil Partnership will be deemed null and void
Special attention must be drawn to the fact that a Civil Partnership under Cyprus Law shall be considered as null and void in the following cases:
- where another pre-existing and still valid marriage or civil partnership exists (in any place in the world);
- if the Civil Partnership was concluded between relatives within the prohibited degrees of relationship;
- If the Civil Partnership was concluded between an adopted person and his/her adopter;
- If the Civil Partnership was concluded with a minor person (under 18 years old);
- if the relevant procedure has not been duly followed as per the provisions of the relevant Law; and
- where it is proved that there was lack of consent by one or both partners.
5. Can a Civil Partnership be dissolved?
The relevant Law contains specific provisions for the dissolution of a Civil Partnership, providing that this can be dissolved in any one of the following manners:
- The Partners can submit a joint declaration in writing and in the presence of two witnesses, who should be at least 18 years old and of sound mind, that they wish for the Civil Partnership to be dissolved; or
- One of the Partners can apply for the relevant Court Order, which shall be served to the other party; or
- The Civil Partnership will automatically be dissolved in case of marriage between the Partners; or
- Following the death of one or both Partners.
6. Difference between Civil Marriage and Civil Partnership
It must be noted that Civil Partnership confers the same rights as marriage, unless otherwise specified in the law. In this sense, the only clear difference at this time is that the term “spouse” under Cyprus Law shall be considered equivalent to “partner” with the exception of the law on the adoption. As such, a coupled concluding a Civil Partnership is currently prevented from adopting a child under Cyprus Law.