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Cohabitation agreement for same-sex couples and residence permit in Greece

On 24th of December 2015 the Law № 4356 was issued and in order to complete the provisions of the previous law it provides for cohabitation agreement between two persons of the same sex. Thus the same-sex couples will be able to legalize their relationship by drawing up a notarial agreement of cohabitation, which will regulate rights and duties of the civil partners.

The first condition is a legal capacity of the parties. The law provides for obstacles that prevent a cohabitation agreement to be considered legal, namely:

a) if at list one of the parties is married or is bound by another cohabitation agreement;

b) if the parties are in any degree of relative consanguinity or are relatives by marriage in any degree up to the 4th;

c) in case of adoption, if one of the parties is adoptive parent and another is adopted child.

The cohabitation agreement does not let the parties to change their surnames, though each party may use the other party’s surname in public or add it to theirs. Considering private relationships of the parties the rights of civil partners are equal to those of the spouses, legally married, since there is no specific prohibition provided for by the Greek legislation.

Furthermore, regarding other relationship between the civil partners the provisions of the Civil Code related to marriage are implied if the partners basing on principles of equality and solidarity do not adjust it otherwise while drawing up the above agreement.

The issues of inheritance law for the parties of cohabitation agreement are solved according to provisions of the Civil Code concerning spouses. In the preparation of the cohabitation agreement the rights of civil partners may be limited as each of the parties may refuse their legitime (forced share).

Any specified by the Greek law pretension that spouses actually might have one to another, as well as claims and perks concerning third parties or the State, are respectively implied to civil partners, in the absence of such specific prohibition. If required, after the publication of the relevant presidential decree, the existing Labour law and the social rights provisions can be adapted to this provision.

For civil partners it is prohibited to marry a third person before a cohabitation agreement will be terminated or canceled by the final judgement of the court. Moreover, after the cohabitation agreement is concluded, the blood kin of one party become relative to another by the same line and degree, and by the termination or the cancellation of the agreement all created by this agreement consanguinities are being retained.

There are few ways which are considered appropriate for the termination of the cohabitation agreement:

a) by mutual agreement of the partners – personally, in presence of a notary;

b) by unilateral declaration, provided the invitation to consensual solution has been delivered by a bailiff to the second party and from the moment of the above notification three (3) months have past;

c) automatically, if the parties decide to get married (for opposite-sex couples).

There is a possibility to settle an alimony payment to one of the parties after the cohabitation agreement is terminated, which is applied in accordance to the provisions about the alimony after divorce, except the cases when the parties refuse such a right while drawing up their agreement.

According to the Joint Ministerial Decision № 23443/07.09.2011, third countries nationals who are the partners of an EU citizen or of a Greek citizen and their stable relationship is duly proven, may be entitled to a residence permit. The validity of the above Decision, based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination, extends to the nationals of the third countries who are homosexual and who is in a firmly established relationship with an EU citizen or with a Greek citizen. By means of the cohabitation agreement from now on there is a possibility for the same-sex couples to legalize the stability of their relationship, which actually is also required for the residence permit issue. This means that a third country national is eligible to submit an application and to obtain a residence permit as the partner of an EU citizen or of a Greek citizen under cohabitation agreement.

The Law Office of Mrs Svetlana Kasatkina-Kouskou conducts services in preparation of documents and appropriate applications for the third countries nationals who are the homosexual partners of EU or Greek citizens in order to obtain their residence permit at the Ministry of Interior in Athens, whether they reside in the Attica region or outside of it. There is also a possibility for our clients to authorize the lawyer to act on their behalf without need of their personal presence in Athens.

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