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Divorce by Mutual Consent in Greece

Divorce by Mutual Consent in Greece

Author: Athanasios Rozou
Published: 01/01/2018

The Dissolution of Marriage With a Notarial Act is Fast and Easy Since the Court Route is Being Bypassed

The new procedure for obtaining a divorce by mutual consent in Greece is part of the state's broader effort to relieve the courts of surplus material and to speed up the administration of justice.

The shortening of the release time of divorce by mutual consent according to Law 4055/2012

The first attempt to shorten the release time of divorce by mutual consent was made in Law 4055/2012 (GG A 51/12.03.2012). This was amended in article 1441 of the Greek Civil Code, requiring from 02.04.2012 a single court hearing for the request of divorce by mutual consent to achieve the dissolution of marriage. Until then, it was necessary for a divorce by mutual consent to have the agreement of both spouses about the dissolution of marriage declared to the Court in two sittings, that are at least six months apart. At the same time, the Law 4055/2012 reduced the necessary marital life, which should have intervened until the filing of a petition for divorce by mutual consent, from one (1) year to six (6) months.

Divorcing spouses

The first thoughts about the assignment of divorce by mutual consent to notaries

Since then, the legal world pondered whether certain court procedures could be simplified so that judicial assistance is no longer required to deal with them. This concerned, among other things, the divorce by mutual consent, the certificate of succession, the acquisition of the res judicata force by foreign judgments and civil registration acts, as well as the registration and deregistration of charges on real estate property. The most popular aspect was the gradual transfer of a part of the cases of the non-contentious proceedings, such as the above, to the notaries, to deal with them with a notarial deed and not a judicial decision. This idea matured in 2017, when the Law 4509/2017 (GG A 201/22.12.2017) was passed. The 22nd article of the new law amended the articles 1438 and 1441 of the Civil Code and imposed the agreement of divorce by mutual consent by a notarial act.

Transposition of marriage dissolution jurisdiction from the courts to the notaries

The new procedures for divorce by mutual consent resulted in the transposition of marriage dissolution jurisdiction from the courts to the notaries. Marriage is no longer dissolved by a judicial decision, but by a notarial deed. Until a copy of the notarial deed is filed in the civil registry, where the marriage was registered, the marriage is valid.

The mandatory representation of each spouse by a lawyer

It is still mandatory for each spouse to be represented by a lawyer in the new procedure. The lawyers should co-sign with the couple or on their own the notarial deed of the divorce by mutual consent and the marriage dissolution agreement, if they have been granted the mandate by a special notarial power of attorney. The couple should also have representation regarding agreements on custody, communication and maintenance of minor children. The special authority for signing these documents should have been granted to the lawyers within the last month before signing.

The certification of authenticity of the signature of the spouses by the County Court

Under the new procedure for a divorce by mutual consent, a ten (10) day period must be allowed between the signing of the marriage dissolution agreement and the signing of the notarial deed. To prove the date of signing the marriage dissolution agreement, the amended Article 1441 of the Civil Code provides that the authenticity of the spouses’ signature should be checked by the County Court’s Secretariat of the seat of the notary who will draw up the notarial deed.

Steps of mutual consent divorce in Greece

The pending Mutual Consent Divorce petitions in Courts

The petitions for mutual consent divorce that have already been lodged with the Court shall be dealt with by the proceedings in force at the time of their filing. However, spouses can waive the application already lodged before the Courts to follow the expedited procedure for the dissolution of marriage before a notary, as explicitly stated in the Explanatory Memorandum of Law 4509/2017.

The mandatory spiritual dissolution of marriage

Under par. 4 of article 22 of Law 4509/2017 the spiritual dissolution of the religious marriage is obligatory. Until now, the dissolution of religious marriage could be completed by a final judicial decision, which was simply registered in the relevant registry, without a compulsory spiritual dissolution. Especially couples who did not wish to re-marry - at least in the near future - usually did not proceed to a spiritual dissolution of their religious marriage, to avoid expenses. Now, the Law 4509/2017 does not allow the ex-spouses to not complete the dissolution of their religious marriages, along with the administrative matters.

The cost of divorce by mutual consent by a notary

The new procedure for the dissolution of a marriage by notarial deed is more expensive than the proceedings before the Court, as the notarial fee is added to the expenses. Each spouse must pay a) a fee to the lawyer for legal advice, representation before a notary and drafting or reviewing the marriage dissolution agreement and the agreement for the custody, communication and maintenance of minor children, if there are any, b) the proportion of the notary's fee or the whole amount, depending on the agreement with the other spouse, c) the fee for the spiritual dissolution of the marriage, if it was held in a temple and, finally, d) other minor costs that may arise.

We have successfully represented our clients in dozens of mutual consent divorces and have long experience in family law cases. Our law firm, in collaboration with an experienced and acclaimed notary, undertakes the assurance of your rights and guarantees the fastest possible completion of the procedure. If you are looking for a divorce lawyer in Greece, we ask you to honor us with your trust.