Divorce Procedure in France

Divorce procedure in France

Updated on Wednesday 03rd February 2021

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The divorce process in France involves certain steps and may have financial consequences for the individuals. When deciding to end a marriage in France, couples should know that there are four types of divorce in France: a contested type, two amicable types and one type for extensive separation. Our French lawyers can help you if you are going through a divorce procedure in France.

With a vast knowledge in French Family Law matters, our lawyers can help local and foreign citizens through every stage of the divorce procedure, including child custody (where applicable) and division of assets.

Types of divorce in France

There are 5 types of divorce procedures in France, the last one being added a few years ago.

These are:

  1. the divorce by mutual consent where both spouses agree to end the marriage amicably;
  2. the accepted divorce where parties agree on the separation as a consequence of a broken marriage;
  3. the contested divorce where one of the parties starts the divorce procedure by filing a petition with the court;
  4. the divorce for prolonged separation which occurs when one of the spouses has left the conjugal home;
  5. the divorce by mutual consent without a judge which is the latest and simplest form of ending a marriage outside the court.
The first type of divorce in France is the divorce by mutual consent. In this case, the spouses need to agree on every aspect of the divorce procedure before they submit a petition to the judge (custody, division of assets, visiting rights etc.). This is the simplest form of divorce in France and the parties need to draft an agreement that covers all the aspects of the divorce and its consequences.

Our French divorce attorneys can offer support no matter the type of divorce procedure one decides for. We can also council both spouses in case they want a mutual divorce without a judge.

If you need notary services we can put you in touch with our foreign partners.

The amicable divorce procedure in France

The simplest way of terminating a marriage in France was introduced in November 2016, when the authorities introduced the simplified procedure which no longer required a court of justice to rule in favor of the divorce.

According to our divorce lawyers in France, the parties must draft a document where all the matters related to the separation are agreed on. The document must include the personal and patrimonial issues of the divorce related to the residence of the spouses, the residence of the children, the spouse allowance and the child alimony and support, as well as any other decision related to the division of assets, property and debts.

A few aspects to consider when going through a mutual divorce outside the court are related to the fact that each party must be represented by a lawyer and the agreement must be drafted and signed by the parties and their French lawyers. All the points of the documents must be agreed upon point by point.

Between the date of the drafting of the document and signing the agreement, the spouses will have a 15-day recess during which each spouse can advise with their lawyer. Once the period has ended and the agreement was signed, one of the lawyers will have the documents notarized by a public notary in France. Starting with the day of the notarization, the divorce is completed.

Our divorce lawyers in France can guide you through the simplified divorce procedure which can be concluded within one month if every aspect is clarified.

This type of divorce procedure can now be reduced if the parties agree not to go before a judge. However, it is important to know that if a minor child of the spouses asks to be heard by the judge, the procedure will need to be completed in court. In this case, the agreement will be filed with the judge who will approve it, if no other objection arises. Also, a single hearing is sufficient during the amicable court procedure of a divorce in France. In this case, the spouses can use the same lawyer.

Court proceedings in divorce cases in France

The divorce procedure can also take place on the basis of acceptance that the marriage has broken down. This type of divorce is also called accepted divorce. The parties need to agree that divorce is inevitable and a judge needs to verify if both parties have willingly given their consent. A judge will also pronounce custody rights for the children and resolve other issues like asset management.
A contested or hostile divorce takes place when one party accuses the other of the breakdown suffered in the marriage. This is usually a lengthy procedure and the accusing party will try to prove that the other party is responsible for the ending the marriage. French law encourages spouses reach an amicable agreement and even change the type of divorce, if needed.
A divorce for prolonged separation is possible in France when the couple has lived apart for more than two years. A French judge will pronounce the divorce and establish the consequences.
If you need legal assistance for divorce in France, you may contact our French lawyers. If your divorce is in UK, we can put you in touch with our local partners.

Conciliation in case of divorce in France

Conciliation is required in case the divorce procedure is completed in court, according to the French Family Law. The judge will try to reconcile the spouses during the first hearings and among the measures disposed by the court are mediation and the possibility of for spouses to have separate residences.

If reconciliation cannot help the couple, the judge will then:

  • - decide on the spouse to use the conjugal home (the parent entrusted with the children’s custody will be allowed to use it in most cases);
  • - decide on the children’s place of residence and custody, as well as alimony and support;
  • - make an estimated inventory of the assets acquired by the spouses during the marriage;
  • - establish the maintenance payment dates and methods, in accordance with the law;
  • - appoint a public notary to draft a liquidation plan of the matrimonial assets of the spouses.


Our law firm in France can offer more information on how court proceedings are completed in case of divorce.

Documents required when filing for divorce in France

Where the divorce reaches court proceedings, the following documents must be prepared by the spouses:

  • - the identification papers of both spouses;
  • - the residence permit of one or both spouses, if they are foreign citizens living in France;
  • - the family record book, if the marriage was registered in France;
  • - the divorce petition;
  • - the agreement drafted by the spouses;
  • - information about the property and assets of the spouses;
  • - information about the income of each spouse;
  • - information about the children (where applicable);
  • - the prenuptial contract (if any).


You can also rely on our attorneys in France for divorce proceedings if you are a foreign citizen living legally in France.

How is the divorce procedure completed in France?

Irrespective of the causes that have led to a divorce in France, an important step is the division of property after divorce. The divorce procedure includes the liquidation of the matrimonial regime and the division of the assets acquired during the time of the marriage.
The matrimonial regime in France comprises a series of legal provisions for spouses that help them govern their financial relations during and after the end of the marriage.
Please contact our law firm in France for other legal issues or more information about  theFamily Law in France.