Greece: Family Law

Working with our local colleagues in Greece, we handle family law cases concrning Greece:

The Greek-related cases that we have handled include:

-The abduction of children from Greece to the United States;

-The abduction of children from the United States to Greece;

-Prenuptial agreements with a Greek person;

-Divorce matters between spouses who live or previously lived in Greece; and

-Contested child custody issues.

We always work with counsel in Greece as appropriate.


As in the year 2007, Greece demonstrated patterns of noncompliance with respect to judicial performance during the 2008 reporting period.  These patterns of judicial noncompliance arise from procedural complexities and hindrances in Greek law.  Respondent taking parents often influence the judicial timeline refusing to cooperate with summons and orders.  Lenghty appeals processes further prolong cases.  These significant delays in Convention proceedings continue to be the Department's main concern.  The Hague Permanent Bureau's Guide to Good Practice states that parties' obligation to process return applications expeditiously also extends to appeal procedures.

In addition, the Greek judiciary frequently denies requests for return under the Convention by finding that there would be a grave risk of physical or psychological harm for the child if returned, or that return would otherwise place the child in an "intolerable situation."  See Convention, art. 13 (b) (setting forth this exception).  Such findings may suggest that Greek courts place undue emphasis on the "best interests" of the child.  The USCA acknowledges that a Greek court ordered return in one case during the reporting period, in compliance with the provisions of the Convention, which may indicate a positive shift in the judiciary's application of the Convention.  

The USCA has a sound, cooperative relationship with the Greek Central Authority (GCA) and is able to monitor case progress through clear and effective communication.  The GCA sends circulars on the Convention's requirements and procedures, and requests Greek courts to process Convention cases expeditiously.  The GCA organizes regular seminars on the Convention for judges and law students in Athens and Thessaloniki.  Greek law enforcement appears to be improving its handling of these cases.  In one case in northern Greece, police efficiently located the taking parent and the child, took the taking parent into custody, and placed the child under the supervision of local authorities pending resolution of the outstanding custody matter. 

Providing wise and experienced legal counsel to international families for many years

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