Due to Cyprus being an international business centre, many individuals and families relocate to Cyprus either temporarily or permanently. It is not rare, therefore, that in the event of a family breakdown, if a spouse wishes to move to Cyprus, the issue of child abduction arises.

Abduction situations are complex and sometimes urgent. Acting swiftly is of vital importance in order to ensure the safety, the return and the wellbeing of the child, and seeking expert advice is crucial, whether the party is the applicant or respondent (ie, the party who has taken a child abroad without the necessary permission, even if they have done this without ill intentions).

"Child abduction", when it comes to law involving children, means one parent taking or keeping a child abroad without the other parent's consent. For example, if a divorced couple lives in Cyprus, and the mother takes the child to the United Kingdom without the father's consent, she might have abducted the child, despite the fact that she may have a custody court order (unless the move to the United Kingdom was actually a holiday).

Parties seeking legal help for child abduction out of Cyprus will be protected by the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abductions, which was ratified by 90 countries, including Cyprus, and ensures the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence, as well the protection of the rights of the parent that stays behind. Under this Convention, matters are not decided based on who has custody. Rather, it sides with the child's best interest and their return to the country of habitual residence. In other words, the Convention establishes that the child ought to return to the country where they were previously living.

Article 6 of the Convention establishes that the parent that stays behind may file an application through the designated central authority, which in Cyprus is the Minister of Justice and Public Order. According to the new sections 245A and 246 of the Cyprus Criminal Code,(1) a parent commits a criminal offence when abducting a child from Cyprus.

For further information on this topic please contact Christos Kastanias, Evripidis Michaelides or Ioanna Martidi at A G Paphitis & Co by telephone (+357 25 73 10 00) or by email ([email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]). The A G Paphitis & Co website can be accessed at www.agplaw.com.


(1) Cap. 154, as amended by Law 70(I)/2008.