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21 July, 2024
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800 divorces annually, 35,000 single parents, and outdated benefits

The Parliamentary committee discussed pressing concerns, including outdated benefits and unaddressed reports, prompting calls for immediate action


The Human Rights Committee of the Parliament convened today, shedding light on critical issues affecting single-parent families in Cyprus, according to a report by Ioanna Kyriakou. Among the key concerns addressed were the current number of 35,000 single-parent families, an annual divorce rate of 800 in each province, and the stagnant Minimum Guaranteed Income, which has not seen an update since 2014.

Single-parent families struggling with benefits

The session brought attention to the challenges faced by single-parent families, with 35,000 such families in Cyprus. Out of these, only 500 receive the Minimum Guaranteed Income (EEE). Argentulla Ioannou, the president of the Cyprus Association of Single-Parent Families and Friends, highlighted the predicament faced by those receiving EEE, emphasizing that they are often deprived of alimony, resulting in insufficient funds to cover their monthly needs. The discussion also touched upon divorced fathers on unemployment benefits being asked to cover child maintenance.

Outdated benefits and delays in alimony

Concerns were raised about the inadequacy of benefits based on 2014 data and the lack of revisions to reflect the current cost of living. The MPs criticized the government for not revising the benefits despite the current economic conditions. The President of the Committee, Irini Charalambidou, questioned the State's consideration of the €480 Minimum Guaranteed Income as satisfactory, especially when the poverty level is defined at €730 by the Insolvency Service.

2017 report on divorce impact and gender inequalities

A significant point of contention was the revelation that the Ministry of Justice had prepared a comprehensive report in 2017 on the economic impact of divorce and gender-based economic inequalities of divorced couples. The report, presented at the United Nations in 2020, had not been forwarded to other ministries. Irini Charalambidou expressed dismay at the government's failure to utilize the research and called for written statements from all ministries regarding the report's receipt and actions taken.

Alarming rise in divorce rates

The Bar Association highlighted a rapid increase in divorce cases, with 800 divorces reported annually in each province. The spokesman noted that the actual number might be higher as some families cannot afford legal proceedings. Criticism was directed at the bureaucracy hindering the process of collecting alimony, causing inconvenience to beneficiaries who often endure a prolonged and challenging collection period, ranging from one and a half months to seven years.

The committee concluded the session by urging immediate measures, including the creation of a national strategy to support children from single-parent families, and the prompt submission of long-pending bills for the reform of family law to the Legal Affairs Committee.

[This article was translated from its Greek original and may have been edited for brevity and clarity]

Cyprus  |  society  |  divorce

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