3 How can the spouses arrange their property regime?

3.1. Which provisions can be modified by a contract and which cannot? Which matrimonial property regimes may be chosen?

Marriage settlements in the sense of prenuptial agreements between the spouses are not valid, or at least not binding, under Cypriot law. The same is true of any agreements for the future settlement of the matrimonial property which were concluded between the spouses after the marriage was celebrated but prior to separation. It is only after the spouses have separated that the claim for contribution to the increase of the matrimonial property provided in Section 14 of Law 232/91 (see 5.1) may be enforced and thus, any marriage settlements or agreements for the distribution of the matrimonial property which were concluded prior to the separation of the spouses are not binding upon the parties and shall be disregarded by the Family Court. This is because the provisions of Law 232/91 are of a mandatory character and cannot be undermined by private agreements signed between the parties (presumably under duress) which either restrict or exclude the right safeguarded under Section 14 of Law 232/91. Consequently, marriage settlements may only be concluded after the parties have separated and not before. Following separation, however, the parties may freely settle their matrimonial property without resorting to the Family Court.

3.2. What are the formal requirements and who should I contact?

There are no formal requirements as such for settling the matrimonial property outside of the Court’s jurisdiction. However, independent legal advice and financial disclosure might be considered as crucial factors for the validity of an agreement, depending on the circumstances.

3.3. When may the contract be concluded and when does it come into effect?

See 3.1.

3.4. May an existing contract be modified by the spouses? If so, under what conditions?

Yes, so long as it is concluded after separation of the parties.