European Family Law Volume II
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European Family Law Volume II

The Changing Concept of ‘Family’ and Challenges for Domestic Family Law

Edited by Jens M. Scherpe

This four-volume set maps the emerging European family law. It is intended to serve as a resource for anyone interested in this area of law, as well as a basis for teaching on comparative and international family law courses. The first volume examines the impact of institutions and organisations on European family law. While there is no European body that could actually legislate definitively on family law, there are some institutions that have a direct impact on European family law, while the impact of others is more indirect. In the second volume the changing concept of ‘family’ and challenges for domestic family law are analysed in 21 different jurisdictions, in 16 chapters. All contributions look at ‘horizontal’ family law (the law concerning the relationships between adults), ‘vertical’ family law (the law concerning the relationships of adults and children) as well an ‘individual’ family law (the law on names and gender identity). In the third volume the contributions take a comparative view on specific issues from a European perspective. The fourth volume, which works as a stand-alone monograph, draws on all of the previous chapters, and discusses the present and future of European family law. It establishes areas where ‘institutional’ European family law exists – in the sense that there are binding legal rules for all European jurisdictions – for example, as a result of a decision by the European Court of Human Rights. It also identifies areas where, as a result of common legal and social developments for ‘horizontal’, ‘vertical’ and ‘individual’ family law, an ‘organic’ European family law is emerging and suggests how family laws in Europe are going to develop in the future.
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Chapter 5: The changing concept of ‘family’ and challenges for family law in Greece

Eleni Zervogianni


Greek family law is codified and forms part of the Greek Civil Code. It contains provisions on family relations stricto sensu (especially relations between spouses and between parents and children) as well as on the so-called ‘quasi family relations’, which include protective institutions, such as the judicial assistance of adults who by reason of an impairment or insufficiency of their personal faculties are not in a position to protect their interests, and the judicial administration of the affairs of unknown persons or persons of unknown residence. As family law is sensitive to social change, the relevant provisions of the Greek Civil Code have been amended considerably through the years, in the direction of eliminating religious influence on law, guaranteeing the equality of sexes, enhancing private autonomy, protecting the interests of minors and vulnerable adults, as well as regulating the use of new technologies on human reproduction. Moreover, special legislation has been enacted on particular issues in family law, such as cohabitation of persons of different sex and domestic violence. Since demographics have a substantial influence on the evolution of family law, the following statistical data are of interest. The mean age of first marriage is steadily increasing in Greece. From 23.4 forwomen and 28.1 for men in 1971, it went up to 28.9 for women and 31.8 for men in 2008. In addition, the crude marriage rate has dropped in the last fewdecades, while the divorce rate has increased. A significant percentage of single adults are still living in their parental home.

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