Family Law in France

Family Law in France

Updated on Monday 18th April 2016

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Family law is the area of French law that governs all family related issues and domestic relations.
Marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships are regulated by this law and also matters regarding adoption, custody, child support and also child abuse and child abduction.

Family organization in France

In order to be legally married in France, the partners must perform the civil marriage ceremony. A religious ceremony can be performed afterwards, but it will not be legally binding. 
Alternatively, partners can sign a civil solidarity pact (PACS), a contractual form of civil union between two adults, including same-sex partners.
In case of marriage, prenuptial agreements may be drawn up by a notary before the wedding.

Types of divorces

There are several types of divorce procedures available in France: by mutual consent, accepted, contested (or hostile) and for prolonged separation. Divorces in France usually consist of two procedures:
- the order of the divorce, followed by the determination of the custody of the children and the amount of child support - performed by a French judge;
- the division of assets - performed by a French notary.
Our French lawyers can help you with legal representation or counselling if you want to apply for divorce in France. 

Family law regarding children in France

In case of divorce or separation, the court will decide the parent’s custody rights. This decision is made in the best interest of the child. Child custody in France is of two types:
- legal custody: the right of the parents to decide upon the child’s upbringing, education and property; generally, parents are given joint custody.
- physical custody: the child’s place of residence with one of the parents; the parents can also have joint physical custody.
Usually, the parent who has the larger income will be ordered by court to provide child support in France until the child has come of age.
Our attorneys in France can provide more information about child custody and the parent’s legal duties.
According to the French adoption law, adoption may be petitioned by married couples or single individuals. The adoption process in France consists of two steps: an administrative procedure and a judicial procedure. 
Our law firm in France can help you with more information regarding family law in France and any detailed information about specific requirements for marriage, divorce or child care in France. Please contact us for more details.