Legal Advice Please

I am posting here in the hope that someone may be familiar with french
family law and able to offer some advice as to how a problem our daughter
is experiencing may be overcome.

Twenty five years ago she met a frenchman, fell in love, got married and
had two children. Four years ago the got amicably divorced.

Two years ago she met another frenchman and last year they got married.
They bought a house together and our daughter invested her first divorce
settlement (60K Euros) in the house. Her husband invested a lesser amount
and the balance of the purchase price was paid using a joint mortgage.
After they had been married for three months her husband started abusing
her both verbally and physically (he beat her up). Afterwards he was always
very apologetic. This happened numerous times and he also started verbally
abusing our teenage grand-daughter whenever she visited. Finally our daughter
decided enough was enough and went to the Gendarmerie who said they would
investigate the matter. They told our daughter that for her own safety she
should get out of the house. They also told her she should appoint a lawyer.

She did this and came to live with us for six months and continued to pay
half the mortgage until June 2022 when her savings ran out. She has now
moved back to UK, found a well-paying job and is renting a flat - she says
she’s happy. She desperately wants to get the money she has tied up in the
french house back and get divorced so she can move on with her life. But there
are problems.

  1. Her husband is still living in the house. It is supposedly for sale
    but we suspect that he has deliberately manipulated the price to ensure
    that it is higher than it’s market value and doesn’t sell. We also suspect
    (but can’t prove it) he has taken in a lodger to help pay the mortgage.
    He has categorically refused to agree to a divorce before the house is
    sold. He says this is for tax reasons.

  2. Our daughter’s lawyer says she should wait until the house is sold and
    seems to be content to bill our daughter 400 Euros every couple of months
    for doing not very much.

  3. The gendarmerie also don’t appear to be doing much. They have taken statements
    from our daughter’s friends and ex. work colleagues but haven’t taken any
    action. Whenever our daughter asks her designated contact for an update, they
    say they will get back to her but they never do.

Has anyone been in a similar situation and can offer any advice?

Not advice, but speaking from personal experience of divorce in France.

Even in an amicable situation, it can be slow. It can take literally years to reach a settlement on the conjugal estate. Factor in abuse and you’ve got a recipe for a case that will be complicated by the very nature of the relationship between the protagonists.

If your daughter is dissatisfied with her current lawyer, she can seek another one, perhaps even consult with a UK specialist to determine whether it would be possible to file for divorce in the UK.

Presumably, given the abuse, she has followed, or is aware of, the advice given on websites like this one ?
Presumably, she filed for a “main courante” with the gendarmerie ?
Presumably, she informed the gendarmerie the date on which she left the conjugal domicile to go and live in the UK?

Not doing these things can make life complicated for the would-be divorce filer in France trying to prove “fault” as the justification for divorce.

This is why having a good lawyer with a track record of defending victims of domestic abuse is highly recommended.

I would have thought that even the existing lawyer would advise / have advised on whether divorce proceedings could be filed just on the basis of the current situation, and what the likely outcome would be.

Thank you - I have passed your response on to my daughter.