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  Separation and Marriage Breakdown



Divorce Statistics France

Only some 50 marriages are performed each year for every 10,000 citizens – the lowest per capita number in Europe. As in many other Western countries, the average age for marriage is increasing and is almost 30 for men and 28 for women, who on average give birth for the first time at just under 30. Almost 7.5m French citizens live without a partner, around 1m of whom are divorcees, and the number is growing each year.

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To be divorced ‘by mutual consent’ ( divorce par consentement mutuel or divorce sur demande conjointe), you must have been married for at least six months. Other types of divorce are ‘consent to divorce but not to consequences’ ( divorce sur demande acceptée), divorce based on fault ( divorce pour faute) such as adultery, and divorce based on termination of married life ( divorce pour rupture de la vie commune).

As in most other Western countries, the divorce rate has risen alarmingly (by around 40 per cent) in the last decade in France, where more than a third of marriages end in divorce (there was even a best-selling Divorce magazine!), although it’s still lower than in some other European countries, e.g. the UK. You can be divorced under French law only when either spouse is a French citizen or when two non-French spouses are resident in France.

The grounds for a divorce needn’t be disclosed, provided both parties agree on the repercussions such as the division of property, custody of children, alimony and maintenance. A divorce is usually granted automatically by a judge, although he may order a delay of three months for reflection. A divorce becomes final one month after judgement or two months if it has gone to appeal. A contested divorce must be decided by a court of law.



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