Advice on divorce needed please

Not whether I should divorce or not; we've worked that out for ourselves ( and got over it and moved on). No, I need advice from others who have been in our situation or any handy divorce lawyers; we got married in the UK in 1997, are both English, now live permanently in France. Would it be quicker/easier to divorce in the UK (ie have to go back there together I suppose for a 'holiday' and consult a lawyer there)or start proceedings here. I can only imagine the bureacracy involved here....but don't really have the time/money to go back to the Uk either. I have never had dealings with a lawyer in either country, so any advice about the next step would be gratefully received too. Thanks a lot people.

How about setting up a company in yours and a trusted friends name, not in France, to which you pay yourself a salary (equivalent of your monthly pension receipts). The company can own the bank account and pay your bills. Only you can have access. Not husband. You go interdit bancaire. Husband clears off because his cash cow is dry. You then sort out problem of interdit bancaire et voila!

I think, if you have both worked it out, and there's no scuffling over guardianship of kids, or splitting of assets, it should be fairly reasonable to do it in France. Of course, using english speaking lawyers will cost more. People comparing costs of legal might not be taking into account time off work, and fees for travel to the UK.

my dilemma is similar. i want to get pacsed. does it cost more to head home and do it all in english, or to go to the embassy, get all the bull papers they ask for (some of which don't exist in my home country,because we do not have civil union/partnership). Meanwhile, as I debate this, time passes, and i think.. well, if we get by this long without the pacs, do we really need it?

All good advice here. However, I would carerfully consider though going back to UK on “holiday” to get divorce. If you are legally resident in France, then you should get the ruling of the French courts. As you say you, are permanently living in France. I am not a solicitor, but a retired Legal Executive who has organised several divorces over the years. I don’t want to sound negative, but even when the agreement to divorce is amicable, things can change, and one thing you don’t want, down the road, is an ex who challenges the UK divorce on a technicality. Or worse, your local admin not accepting your divorce papers. If you are registered in France for tax purposes, a divorce decree dated after the date of your tax registration could, potentially, end up being worthless. Best of luck, whatever you decide to do.

Hi Sarah.

When you state "got over it and moved on" I suppose that you agree on all the ins and outs of the divorce, including the financial details, who gets what, what to do with property, the dog etc. And in the case that you have kids, that you agree also on child support, visiting rights.

If that is the case then you could opt for the "divorce par consent mutuel". It's based on the agreement of partners on all the issues of a divorce. This agreement (conventions de divorce) is finally checked during a hearing of the partners by a judge dealing with family affairs in your local "Tribunal de Grands Instances".

For that procedure you need a lawyer. Lots of law-firms offer an all-in package of around 1000-1500 euro's. (search the net for "devis divorce par consent mutuel"). You'll have to draw up your own agreement in French so any translation fees are not included. As this is a procedure-by-correspondance you'll need a local laywer to represent you in the court hearing. Most law-firms have a network of lawyers they work with regional (avocats postulants). If necessary one of those will be assigned to your case during the hearing. Costs are included in that all-in package.

The duration of the whole procedure varies with the workload of your local court. but should not take longer dan 9 months. After the hearing it can take up to one month before you receive the ruling on paper.

sounds like it's a good thing you've got a lawyer and sorry to hear of the problems. I was very lucky (if I can use the term when talking about divorce!) in that we were both very adult about it and once everything was settled that was it. no maintenance, no rights of access etc. Sorry to hear about your Mum's situation too, my parents are divorced, it was all tied up properly but there was a lot of friction and things that weren't quiet clear for a while with my sister who was still at school. Having said that I don't see how a divorce being amicable or not can change the agreement - it's still a court order that annuls the marraige and sets out the terms, it just doesn't involve solicitors or is there such a thing as an amicable divorce where you don't get things done through the courts - separation style? ... it's all a bit of a nightmare that's why I'm now living in sin with my partner rathe than getting married or pacsed - two kids and a house together and unfortunately I still have to fill in all forms with 'divorcé' as my marital status which annoys me and upsets my other half - her country, her admin rules though!

au fait, I can't understand your ex not wanting to see the kids, I'd be mortified if I couldn't see mine, must be difficult for you to accept. courage

going back to the original thread theme - I understood that you had to be legally represented in France - friends were amazed that we hadn't used a lawyer and said you had to in France (a few years ago and that's what they said - i accept that they're not legal experts, although there was a juriste in the room at the time who didn't correct them!)

oh and one last thing Christine, I shouldn't worry about taking the kids out of school - no problems with mine, everyone understands or just puts it down to a sicky if they need to fill in paperwork!

I don't know if it is essential to have a lawyer, I went to my first tribunal hearing without one (not by choice!), and the court allocated one for me, but I have one now and I know I couldn't manage without. My parents went for an amicable divorce in the UK, and after a few years the maintenance stopped. Both my parents were living in Africa at the time, so no jurisdiction, and basically that was the end of it, and now my mother lives in a shared house and instead of enjoying retirement, is looking for work! I have had so many difficulties with my ex, mostly financial, and him not wanting to see the kids, BUT at least I can call my lawyer, and she sorts it out (most of the time).

No they're french and obviously used french lawyers and it cost them weveral thousand, I can't remember the exact figure. when I said under a thousand - that was for both of us. In fact we didn't use solicitors in the uk as it was amicable and from memory we actually paid just a few hundred quid for the court fees and as I understand it that's still possible. When comparing total costs of an amicable divorce with french friends the uk came out much cheaper as you don't have to use a solicitor if you don't want to, whereas, according to my friends, you have to use one in the french system.

Here's a link to a forum where people dicuss the cost of an amicable divorce under the new, cheaper, system in France but they're still talking about 1800€ ttc (as with yours)

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I am surprised your friends are paying thousands. Did they use English speaking lawyers? I looked into that but couldn't afford it! I haven't included my ex's costs, but my half of the divorce is 800E all in. The downside is that it is very slow!!

Mine cost somewhere around the 1000 pound mark in the uk but there were no kids involved so things were very easy, french friends who got divorced here explained that even if it’s amicable it costs several thousand euros min but Christine’s obviously come up with some very sound comments

I am in the same situation, married in '97, both English, living in France, and separated. It is much slower, but cheaper to get divorced in France. Equally, you have more security because the decisions made by the court in the UK (regarding assets and childcare) are not recognised in France. You will be legally divorced in months in the UK, compared to abt 2 years in France, but if you have disputes later on you will not be able to get any legal help, in either the UK or France to sort the problem out. I advise that even the most amicable of divorces need the settlements and custody arrangments to be legally binding because, from my own personal experience of divorce, amicable can out the window quite quickly later on when either you or your husband get a new partner. Hope this helps.

I think you'll find it far cheaper, if it's amicable, in the UK. But have a look at the other thread as Catharine said there's loads of advice.

Hi Sarah

I would also read the thread started by Gillian King on the same subject - loads of replies and advice. Cx