Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee this week approved a bill that would soon allow marriages to be dissolved without a judge if both spouses agree. Committee wants to keep the peace between spouses and make their lives easier: divorces should become faster and cheaper, according to the justice minister.
The new proposed law, which is to be discussed by the plenary session of Parliament from the 17th, provides that married couples can register the divorce with a lawyer and it will then be registered by the notary. Registration should not cost more than 50 euros. If a child wishes to comment on this, a judge must be consulted.
Table of Contents
Protection for the children is gone
The umbrella organization of national family organizations (UNAF) criticizes that with the simplified regulation an important element for the protection of children is lost. According to the association, the judge has so far guaranteed an independent decision in the event of divorce, without one party exerting pressure. If, as envisaged in the proposal, no judge was involved in an amicable divorce, but only a notary who registered the divorce, this protection would no longer apply.
However, many French people see this role of a judge as an invasion of their privacy. In a survey conducted in 2013, 67 percent were in favor of a notary divorce. In addition to the long waiting times, they gave the reason that separations are about an “intimate” dispute in which the state should not interfere.
Marriage as an Institute
Law professor Hugues Fulchiron also sees this development for marriage as an institution. Previously it had been closed before society and it was logical that it had to be dissolved by a judge. But gradually it had “become a private matter exclusively between the spouses”. Therefore, the divorce by the judge is perceived as “depressing”.
One reason for the reform is the overloading of judges in France. According to the newspaper “La Croix”, they process 70,000 divorces every year. If this work were to be omitted, they would have more time for other cases. Oranne de Mautort, deputy head of the family department at the French Bishops’ Conference, considers the plans to be a political decision. The judiciary budget had been increased for prisons, but not for matters of ordinary life. Waiting times for divorce proceedings are therefore long. Many people believed that a faster divorce would improve the situation. That’s an “illusion,” says Mautort. On the contrary: couples need time to solve their problems.
Proposed law “clouds” the effects of a breakup
A divorce is a momentous event for the spouses, emphasizes Mautort. The proposed law “clouds” the effects of a breakup; a “banalization” of the divorce. “We notice a gap between concrete divorce experiences and bureaucratic simplification,” she says. An amicable divorce does not always correspond to reality; a partner is often hit hard.
In his letter “Amoris laetitia” (Joy of Love), published in March, Pope Francis explains that marriage is not always a long, calm river, but a “challenge” marked by crises. To sustain marriage, love must be strong and constantly reinvented.
Divorce proceedings and divorce matters such as alimony, custody, pension equalization and property law disputes require competent advice. From the initial consultation during the separation phase to the handling of the divorce proceedings, we support you in all phases of this crisis situation.
You always have a contact person in the law firm – even in the event of acute problems. However, we would also be happy to work out the individual design of marriage contracts, separation and divorce agreements with you.
Family law in a nutshell
Family law regulates issues, such as the effects of marriage, marital property law, contractual property law, divorce and all legal consequences, maintenance rights and child law.
With a marriage contract, the legal regulations for marriage can be individually modified. A marriage contract can create an optimal basis for the marriage that is tailored to the respective individual situation. Since the personal situations of each couple are very different, there are no model marriage contracts. A divorce lawyer can draft a marriage contract that is tailored to your needs.
The outstanding feature of non-marital cohabitation is that it is not legally binding. Non-marital partnerships can be dissolved at any time.
Marriage for all and civil partnership
On August 1, 2001, the civil partnership law came into force. According to § 1 L PartG, adults of the same sex could establish a registered civil partnership.
As of October 1, 2017, same-sex couples can now marry each other in accordance with § 1310 Para. 1.
Children born in wedlock and children born out of wedlock are treated equally by this law. Both in the case of separation and divorce, the basic rule of joint parental care remains, which can only be changed upon application.
Marriage is for life. The marriage can be dissolved by a court decision.
There are 3 dissolution cases:
- Annulment, this retrospectively dissolves a marriage
- Annulment, this means that a marriage is dissolved for the future for reasons that already existed at the time of the marriage
- Divorce, dissolution of marriage for the future for reasons that arose after marriage.
The rule is the dissolution of the marriage by divorce. The only reason for divorce is the failure of the marriage. The so-called disruption principle applies.
The law states:
- that relatives in the straight line are obliged to grant each other maintenance (§ 1601)
- A dependent is someone who is unable to support themselves. (§ 1602)
- The living position of the person in need is decisive for maintenance (§ 1610)
Duration of the divorce
How long divorce proceedings last depends on many factors. Highly complex divorces with a high potential for disputes can be conducted in two instances and usually last several years.
If the spouses agree and, in the best case, they also conclude an agreement on the consequences of separation and the consequences of divorce, the duration of the proceedings depends only on the speed of information on the equalization of pensions and the judge involved.