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Published on April 9th, 2014 | by Maria Psarra


Translation of the Greek Law no 3719/2008 on Civil Unions (Official Gazette 241 / A ‘/ 26.11.2008)

Law no 3719/2008 – Official Gazette 241 / A ‘/ 26.11.2008 – Reforms regarding the family, the child, society and other provisions.





Article 1

Conclusion of a civil union

“A contract between two different-sex adults governing their life as a couple (“civil union”) shall be entered into by means of a notarised instrument in the presence of the parties. The contract shall be valid from the date on which a copy of the notarised instrument is lodged with the civil registrar for the couple’s place of residence. It shall be recorded in a special civil register.”

Article 2


“1. Full legal capacity is required in order to enter into a civil union.

2. A civil union may not be entered into: (a) if either of the persons concerned is already married or party to a civil union, (b) between persons who are related by blood … or by marriage … and (c) between an adopter and adoptee.

3. Any violation of the provisions of this section shall render the civil union null and void.”

Article 3

Nullity of the civil union

“The parties and any person asserting a legitimate family or financial interest may invoke a ground of nullity of the civil union under the preceding section. The prosecutor may apply of his or her own motion for the civil union to be annulled if it breaches public order.”


Article 4


“1. The civil union shall be dissolved: (a) by an agreement between the parties in the form of a notarised instrument signed in their presence, (b) by means of a unilateral notarised declaration, after service on the other party by a process server and (c) by operation of law if the parties to the civil union marry or if one of the parties marries a third party.

2. The dissolution of the civil union shall take effect once the notarised instrument or the unilateral declaration has been deposited with the civil registrar at the place of registration of the civil union.”

Article 5


“The civil union shall not change the (family) name of the parties. Each party may, with the consent of the other party, use the other’s surname or add it to his or her own in social relations.”

Article 6

Financial relations

“The parties’ financial relations, particularly regarding any assets they acquire during the lifetime of the civil union (after-acquired assets), may be regulated by the civil union contract or by a subsequent notarised instrument. If no agreement exists on after-acquired assets, upon dissolution of the civil union each party shall have a claim in respect of any assets the other party has contributed. No such claim shall vest in the heirs of the claimant; it may not be assigned or transferred by succession but may be made against the heirs of the debtor. The claim shall expire two years after dissolution of the civil union.”

Article 7

Maintenance obligation after dissolution

“1. In the civil union contract or a subsequent notarised instrument, one of the parties or both parties mutually may undertake to pay maintenance only to cover the other in the event that, after dissolution of the union, the other party has insufficient income or assets to provide for his or her own upkeep. A party who, having regard to his or her other obligations, is unable to pay maintenance without compromising his or her own upkeep shall be exempt from the obligation to pay maintenance. The obligation shall not pass to the heirs of the debtor.

2. As regards the right to maintenance, the person entitled to maintenance by virtue of the civil union shall rank equally with the divorced spouse of the debtor.

3. After dissolution of the civil union, the party liable for payment of maintenance may not rely on that obligation in order to be exempted, in full or in part, from his or her obligation to contribute [to the maintenance of] his or her spouse or minor children or to pay maintenance for them.

4. Without prejudice to paragraphs 2 and 3, the contractual obligation referred to in paragraph 1 shall override the obligation to provide maintenance for persons other than the beneficiary [of the maintenance payments] if the latter, after dissolution of the union, has insufficient resources to provide for his or her own upkeep.”

Article 8

Presumption of paternity

“1. The putative father of any child born during the lifetime of the civil union or within three hundred days of its dissolution or annulment shall be the man with whom the mother entered into the union. That presumption may be rebutted only by an irreversible judicial decision. Articles 1466 et seq. of the Civil Code and Articles 614 et seq. of the Code of Civil Procedure shall be applicable by analogy.

2. The nullity or annulment of the civil union shall have no effect on the paternity of the children.”

Article 9

Children’s surname

“Any child born during the lifetime of the civil union or within three hundred days of its dissolution or annulment shall bear the surname chosen by its parents by means of a joint and irrevocable declaration contained in the civil union contract or in a subsequent notarised instrument drawn up before the birth of the first child. The surname chosen shall be given to all the children and must be the surname of one of the parents or a combination of their surnames. In no circumstances may it be made up of more than two surnames. If no declaration is made, the child shall be given a composite surname made up of the surnames of both parents. If the surname of one or both parents is a composite name, the child’s surname shall be formed by the first of the two names.”

Article 10

Parental responsibility

“1. Parental responsibility for a child born during the lifetime of the civil union or within three hundred days of its dissolution or annulment shall be held by both parents and exercised jointly. The provisions of the Civil Code concerning parental responsibility for children born within marriage shall be applicable by analogy.

2. If the civil union is dissolved for the reasons referred to in sections 2 and 4 of this Law, Article 1513 of the Civil Code shall apply by analogy for the purposes of parental responsibility.”

Section 11

Inheritance rights

“1. After dissolution of the civil union as a result of death, the survivor shall be entitled to inherit on intestacy. If that survivor is in competition with heirs of the first class of persons entitled to inherit, he or she shall inherit one-sixth of the partner’s estate. If in competition with heirs of any other classes, he or she shall inherit one‑third, and if one of the partners dies intestate and without other heirs who may be entitled to inherit on intestacy, the survivor shall inherit the entire estate.

2. The survivor shall be entitled to a legally reserved portion of the estate equal to half the share that would be due to him or her on intestacy. …

3. Articles 1823 et seq., 1839 et seq. and 1860 of the Civil Code shall apply by analogy.”

Article 12

Suspension of limitation periods

Article 256 of the Civil Code indent 1 is replaced as follows:

    “1. between spouses during the marriage, even if it is later canceled and between persons who have entered into a registered partnership, for as long as it’s in force.”

Article 13


“This Law shall apply to all civil unions entered into in Greece or before a Greek consular authority. In all other cases the law designated by the rules of international private law shall apply.”


Source: ECHR, 7th of November 2013, Case of Vallianatos and Others v. Greece, Applications nos. 29381/09 and 32684/09.

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