Consensual divorce has been further simplified and expedited in Greece, due to a recent law that came into effect before Christmas, which eliminates months of waiting in lower courts.

According to the new law (4509/2017), the uncontested divorce comes into effect with a simple notarial act, at which the couple need not even be present. The act can be completed by a lawyer that been granted a proper power of attorney.

The power of attorney must be issued no more than one month prior to the act of divorce.

Both parties must have agreed previously to the divorce and financial terms, and must have previously resolved child custody and child support issues.

The written agreement between the parties must be submitted to the notary at least 10 days prior to the agreement.

The notary then drafts the act of divorce, notarises the agreements between the parties, and incorporates them in the act, which is signed either by the parties or the legally authorised lawyer.

Following the expiration of the agreement, issues of child custody, contact with children, and child support arrangements can be extended for a longer period with a new agreement, concluded with the same procedures.

The act of divorce must then be filed at the civil registry where the marriage was recorded.

Religious marriage dissolution

In cases in which a religious marriage was performed, the divorce is ordered by the competent lower court prosecutor, following a petition by the parties. The petition and the prosecutor’s order must be filed with the bishopric, or Metropolis, in which the marriage was performed.

This is required for the spiritual dissolution of the marriage.

Strict penalties for custody, child support violations

According to the new law, whoever violates child support terms in such a manner that, “the beneficiary suffers deprivation or the need to accept the aid of others, is punished with a jail sentence of up to one year.

Also, whoever intentionally does not abide by the agreement regarding contact with minority age children is punished with a minimum six-month jail sentence.