Division of Assets: An Essential Matter Of Marriage Dissolution

Among the most important parameters of a marriage dissolution or annulation is the division of assets. That is to say, either party has the right to claim his or her contribution to the increase of the property of the other partner. In this point, it should be underlined that Cyprus jurisdiction applies in case the parties have lived in the Republic of Cyprus for at least three months, regardless of the nationality.

The Cyprus jurisdiction will deal with the division of assets in accordance with the Law Regulating Property Relations of Spouses (Law 232/1991). Section 13 of the Law 232/1991 points out that marriage does not influence the proprietary independence of each spouse. In other words, each partner preserves and obtains his or her own property even after the marriage.

The provisions of the Law 232/1991 underline that once the property of one spouse has been increased during the marriage and the other spouse has his or her own contribution; then the other spouse may claim the part of the property that has been increased due to his or her contribution. Generally, the contribution will be assumed to be 1/3 of the increase unless a larger or smaller contribution is proved.

The contribution is not only of a monetary nature. For instance, if a spouse takes care of the children of the family and the household, or provides moral support to his or her working spouse, this could be considered to have contributed to the growth of the other spouse’s property. On the other hand, in case the spouses have acquired assets from donations, inheritance, legacies or other ex-gratia sources, this is not taken into consideration when estimating if there has been a growth in the property of the spouses. In the case of debts, each partner is liable for his or her debt, except for particular circumstances.

The Court must compare the assets that either partner had at the time the marriage was celebrated with the assets that either partner had at the date of marriage dissolution or annulation so that to estimate whether the property has increased during the marriage of the parties. In case, there is no increase, or if the property of one of the spouses has decreased, then the Section 14 of the Law 232/1991 does not apply, and the other spouse has not the right to claim anything. As a result, each spouse is obliged to provide the necessary exhibits so that to justify that the matrimonial property has increased during their marriage. The latter can be facilitated by establishing an inventory of assets or by other means.

Disclosure of Assets

Following the submitted application of any party, the Court may issue an order whereby the other party is obliged to submit within fifteen days an affidavit to the Court. In the affidavit, the other party must fully and concretely describe the property he or she had any direct or indirect benefit within the date of marriage dissolution or other relevant date defined by the order.

In case the benefit to the property or part of it that the other party had the date set by the Court does not belong to him or her then he or she is obliged to provide adequate exhibits related to alienation or disposal of the property, or part of it with a complementary affidavit. Afterwards, the Court may set a date to examine the validity of the affidavits or the complementary affidavits or other evidence regarding the assets. In this case, the other party is summoned as a witness.

Donations between spouses:

The Court will take into consideration the amount of money that the claimant spouse is entitled and the value of assets that the other party donated to him or her during the marriage.

Read also: Dissolving a Marriage in Cyprus.