Getting a divorce in Greece can be either a complicated process or a rather simple one depending on many factors, one of which is whether there is the consent of both spouses to end the marriage or the existence of children.
In cases when there is the consent of both spouses, the process is quite simplified thanks to recent legislation that permits the dissolving of a marriage before a notary. Nonetheless, when there are children, the agreement of the spouses must include the setting of their alimony and custody, for it to be valid.
Should one of the spouses not consent, then court proceedings are the only way that a divorce decree may be granted, and this choice might lead to a lengthy legal procedure, especially when children are involved.
Terminating Cohabitation Agreements
A form of divorce in Greece that has been noted quite often recently is the one of the dissolution of a cohabitation agreement. It does not qualify a divorce per se as there is not a marriage under legal definition in the first place. Still, it is a form of ending an agreement which is treated as a marriage in many aspects under the Greek legal order.
Many clients are confused as to how they can end the cohabitation agreement they signed in Greece, especially in case they do not reside in Greece or how to officially update their family records if they have been living many years in a foreign country.
Recently, a person who was living in the USA wished to end such a cohabitation agreement signed with a resident of Greece. Under Greek law such a declaration can take place unilaterally only after the other party has been given a 3 month notice during which he or she does not consent to the dissolution of the cohabitation agreement.
Moreover, the party that wishes to end the agreement must be present and declare his/her intention before a notary. Such a declaration cannot take place through a proxy (Power of Attorney).
He thought that a POA he had signed while in Greece giving the power to a local lawyer to represent him before all authorities would suffice, which was not the case as he needed to be present before the notary to end the agreement. This provoked him quite an issue as due to the corona virus he was not able to come back.
Even when the matter was eventually resolved, he later faced a problem with the modification of his family records in the Special Registry in Athens. The records had not been updated correctly in the first place, as the divorce he had got from his first wife (with whom he had been officially married and divorced in the USA) was not registered, due to the lack of recognition of a foreign judgment.
Ending a cohabitation agreement or getting a divorce might appear as a straightforward process, but it does require appropriate attention and you should always seek independent legal advice before making any important decisions.