These days more and more english people are moving to France permanently or part of each year.

The UK Government statistics show that just over thirty-five per cent of marriages break down. The French figures are almost the same : one half in the province, two thirds in Paris.

You may feel somehow disconnected from the help you could obtain in the UK. You really can’t face thought of going to a local lawyer, what with the language problems, the strange laws and customs and you have heard that it takes years to get a divorce locally.

On 27 May 2004, the new 26 May 2004 Act on Divorce was published in the Journal Officiel and came into force on January 2005.

The two existing types of divorce remain (albeit with simplified procedures) :
• divorce by mutual consent
• divorce by fault

The former divorce for the “breaking up of married life” (open to couples after six years of de facto separation) was abolished and replaced by the new “divorce for irreversible deterioration of married life” (open fater only two years of de facto separation).

The divorce for fault still cover cases of serious or repeated violation of conjugal duties that render married life unbearable and is not restricted to cases of physical violence or adultery.

In any case, the assistance of a lawyer is indispensable. You have to do so even if there are no children involved and no financial issues to consider. You cannot just completing a form called “petition for divorce”, picked up in stationnery shop or from a Court website.

In a joint request, both parties may request the assistance of the same lawyer. The two of you file a joint request and your lawyer takes it to the Regional Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance) which has jurisdiction concerning all family disputes (marriage, divorce, adoption, cohabitating couples)