Couples prefer to enter into cohabitation agreements rather than marry

A significant increase in the number of cohabitation agreements in the first half of 2021, compared to the corresponding period last year, is recorded by the official data of the register of the municipality of Chania.

According to the data provided, in the period from 01.01.2021 to 07.06.2021, 121 co-residence agreements were registered at the registry office of the municipality of Chania, compared to 62 that were issued in the corresponding period last year.

In terms of demographics, 395 deaths, 908 births, 163 marriages and 74 divorces were recorded in the first half of 2021. In the corresponding period of 2020 – 417 deaths, 787 births, 131 marriages and 67 divorces.

Reference. Cohabitation provisions

A cohabitation agreement can be drawn up between same-sex couples in the same way as between opposite-sex
A cohabitation agreement is a private agreement with which two adults organize their cohabitation. According to Law 4356/2015 (Government Gazette A 181 / 24.12.2015), the state provides the opportunity to sign an agreement not only for couples of different sexes, but also for the same sex.

This is undoubtedly an alternative for couples who have not yet decided, due to financial or other obstacles, to tie their lives in marriage. At the same time, after the last legislative intervention, the cohabitation agreement is the only way for same-sex couples to regulate relations with each other and with third parties, since marriages committed by them abroad are not recognized in Greece as objects of Greek law. The cohabitation agreement in many of its consequences equates to marriage, and in conjunction with the significantly lower cost and ease of conclusion, it becomes especially beneficial.

From what moment does the cohabitation contract come into force?
The cohabitation agreement comes into force after submitting a copy of it to the registry office [в Греции это орган, проводящий только государственную регистрацию актов гражданского состояния, к которым отнесены: рождение, заключение и расторжение брака, усыновление (удочерение), установление отцовства, перемена имени и смерть] (ληξιαρχείο), at the place of residence of both parties.

From what moment is the termination of the cohabitation agreement valid?
Termination of the cohabitation agreement comes into force after the submission of a copy of the notarial deed, which contains the agreement or a unilateral statement of its termination, to the same registry office (ληξιαρχείο), in which the deed of the cohabitation agreement was entered.

When is it impossible to sign a cohabitation agreement?
A cohabitation agreement is not allowed in the following cases:

If the interested persons are among themselves or one of them is already married, or have signed a cohabitation agreement. Between blood relatives. Between the brothers-in-law. Between foster parents and children.

When is a cohabitation contract invalid?
When one of the aforementioned conditions is violated, the cohabitation agreement is invalid. A final judgment is required to declare invalid. The invalidity of a cohabitation agreement may be required, except by the parties who entered into it, and the one who has the right of a family nature.

Will the paternity of children be affected if the cohabitation agreement is canceled?
The subsequent recognition of the invalidity of the cohabitation agreement does not entail a change in the paternity of children born during its validity period.

How is a cohabitation agreement terminated?
The cohabitation agreement is terminated:

by agreement of the parties (a notarial deed is concluded); by unilateral notarial application, provided that the bailiff has passed the notice to the other party three months before the application, automatically if the parties marry each other.

Can I keep my last name or use another’s last name if I sign a cohabitation agreement?
The signing of a cohabitation agreement does not change the names of the parties. One of the parties, with the consent of the other party, can use the surname of the other in social relations or add it to its own.

What will be the surname of children born during a joint residence?
A child born during the term of the agreement or within three hundred (300) days from the date of its termination or cancellation will bear the surname chosen by the parents. This is entered into the contract or an additional notarial deed is drawn up before the birth of the first child. The chosen surname is common for all children and is the surname of one of the parents or a combination of their surnames. Under no circumstances can it contain more than two surnames. If there is no application, then the child will have a surname consisting of the surname of both parents. The first will be the last name in alphabetical order. If the surname of one or both parents consists of two surnames, then the child’s surname will be formed from the first of the two surnames.

Is there a presumption of paternity for children born during the term of the cohabitation agreement?
A child born during a cohabitation agreement or within three hundred (300) days from the date of its termination or cancellation has a father with whom the mother was in a contract. The presumption is rebutted by a final court order.

Who remains the guardianship of children born during a joint residence?
Custody of children born during the validity of the cohabitation agreement, or within three hundred (300) days from the date of termination or cancellation of the agreement, belongs to both parents and is carried out jointly.

The provisions of the Civil Code on parental guardianship of children who are born in wedlock apply in this case as well. If the cohabitation agreement is canceled, then with regard to guardianship, article 1513 of the Civil Code applies, according to which “in the event of divorce or annulment of the marriage, if both parents are alive, guardianship is regulated by the court.” Guardianship can be assigned to one of the parents or, if they agree, at the same time, two.

The court may decide otherwise, in particular, divide the guardianship between the parents, or transfer it to a third party. To make a decision, the court takes into account the child’s relationship with the parents and brothers, as well as any agreements between the child’s parents in relation to custody and management of his property. A parent who is not assigned guardianship has the right to ask the other for information about the child’s identity and property.

Can inheritance rights arise in the person of the other after the death of one of the parties?
With regard to the right to inheritance, the parties who signed the cohabitation agreement are considered spouses, and therefore the survivor is entitled to the inheritance of the deceased, unless the parties relinquish this right when signing the cohabitation agreement.

After termination of the cohabitation agreement, are the parties entitled to child support against each other?
With regard to the rights to alimony, the parties to the cohabitation agreement are treated as spouses, and post-divorce maintenance provisions apply similarly, unless the parties waive this right when they sign the cohabitation agreement.

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