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  • Photo du rédacteurCaterina Giudiceandrea

International divorce in France - Expat divorce in France

Dernière mise à jour : 19 mars

International divorce in France is a complex issue that affects international expat families with a link to France.


Bi-national or expatriate families need to be aware of the various implications of an international divorce in France


  • Jurisdiction and applicable law

In France, the jurisdiction of courts to deal with an international divorce is determined by the EU regulations, especially Brussels II ter n°2019/1111 of 25 June 2019 or by French domestic law. As a general rule applicable law may be that of the spouses' habitual residence, that of their last habitual residence if one of them still resides there, or that of the spouses' nationality, depending on the circumstances.


  • Types of divorce in France

The French legal system has established several forms of divorce, which also apply to international divorces in France:


Divorce by mutual consent: The two parties agree on the terms of the divorce and its consequences. Since 2017, this type of divorce can be carried out without going to court, via a simplified procedure involving only each party's lawyer and a notaire.


Divorce for fault: One of the spouses must prove that the other has violated the duties and obligations of marriage.


Divorce for definitive alteration of the marriage bond: This may be requested if the spouses have lived apart for at least 1 year.


Accepted divorce: The spouses agree to divorce but do not necessarily agree on the terms.


  • Issues specific to international divorce

International divorces present specific challenges, particularly with regard to child custody, even more so when they live abroard or when the parents live in different countries, property division, maintenance and inheritance issues. Pre- and post-nuptial agreements can also play a crucial role in determining the division of property.


  • Practical advice

Couples involved in an international divorce in France, should always consult a lawyer specialising in international divorce law to help you navigate the complexities that international situations entail.


In the context of an international divorce it is also important to gather all the necessary documents, such as marriage certificates, the spouses' and children's birth certificates.


In an international context, it is always interesting to consider resolving the divorce amicably by reaching a mutual agreement as French judges are often unfamiliar with international divorces.


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Caterina is a native English speaking family lawyer in France, specializing in expat divorce in France giudiceandrea@legal-gc.com 

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