Money, accommodation, independence

Understandably, fears over money and where to live can keep you feeling trapped with a controlling or violent partner. It is never easy, but there are solutions. We will take you through the various options to re-establish your independence.

If you do not have financial resources or your partner or ex-partner has blocked your access to funds, there are some solutions to cover the costs of your basic necessities. Unfortunately, these solutions are still quite limited in France.

If you currently live in France and are over 18 years of age, you have the right to open a bank account, even if you do not have residency rights or income. If a bank has refused to open an account in your name, you can apply to open an account via the French central bank, called “Banque de France”.

There are many forms of financial assistance offered by French public bodies to help people with limited financial resources. On this page you will find an overview of the main forms of financial assistance available.

Looking for a job in a country you didn’t grow up in can seem daunting, especially if you don’t speak the language. But with perseverance and support, it is possible to find a job or learn a new profession.

If you want to sell your products or services in France, you can start your small business as a sole proprietor with a simplified corporate regime called a “micro-entreprise”, also known as an “auto-entreprise”.

In France, the law requires married partners to provide each other with financial and material assistance if necessary. If you are engaged in divorce proceedings, you can request financial contributions from your spouse.

Even when separated, parents have to continue to contribute to the costs associated with their children. A judge may ask one parent to pay an amount to the other parent known as a child education and maintenance allowance or “contribution à l’entretien et à l’éducation de l’enfant”, also referred to as “pension alimentaire”.

If you don't have enough money to hire a lawyer and pay for legal proceedings, you can ask the state to cover these costs. This is known as legal aid or “aide juridictionnelle”.

If you want to leave France and return to your home country, you can, under certain conditions, apply for financial assistance called “aide au retour volontaire”, or voluntary return assistance.

If you’re not safe at home and don’t know where to go, there are solutions. It is vital that you do not remain in a dangerous situation for you and your children. Your safety is the top priority.

If you think that you and/or your children are at risk of further abuse, you can request protective measures from the French justice system. They could prevent the perpetrator of the abuse from approaching you, including by evicting them from the family home.

If you have limited financial resources, you can apply to rent a home known as a social housing or “logement social”, also known as an “HLM”. This is rent-controlled housing that is usually much more affordable than private housing. If you have been faced with domestic abuse, you could be put on the priority list of applicants.

In France, renting private housing can be a relatively quick way to find accommodation. The conditions are set by the person who owns the property, with whom you must sign a rental agreement before moving in. Depending on the town or city you live in, it can take a little longer to find a home.

If you live in France and you have enough money or can borrow from your bank, you could explore buying a home. This page will walk you through the main steps in the process.

Before you move into a new home, there are several steps you will need to take with regard to administrative authorities and service providers. The steps you need to take may vary depending on your situation.

If you have signed a lease, or “bail”, with your ex-partner, it is important to update the lease after your separation if you leave the home. This will prevent you from being liable for any unpaid rent. If you leave the accommodation due to domestic abuse, you could benefit from a reduced notice period that you are required to give the landlord.

In France, unfortunately, very few services and forms are available in languages other than French. Learning French will be essential for some of the things you have to do and could be very useful when it comes to finding a job. Whatever your initial level, there are many solutions available, both free of charge and at a cost.

Studying at university can allow you to obtain a degree, which can be useful for finding a job in France, or may even be essential for certain career paths. People who are not French can enrol in studies in France under certain conditions.

In France, school attendance is mandatory for all children from the age of three. If your children are under three years old and you need to have them looked after, there are different childcare solutions available. The role of childcare is to care for children and ensure their health, safety and well-being.

Far from family and friends, it’s normal to feel isolated, especially if you’ve experienced domestic abuse. However, it is possible to find a community of people sharing your culture or interests, even if you don’t speak French.

If you have obtained a driving licence outside of the European Union and are permanently based in France, as a general rule you will need to exchange it for a French licence. Many countries have an exchange agreement with France. If you don’t have a licence or cannot exchange yours, you can also take a driving test in France.


I came to France for him. I left a very well paid job, where I felt valued and respected. When I arrived, I didn't speak a word of French. I couldn't find a job. At the time of the separation, he had blocked all my savings in a French account in his name. I had nothing left and I was really shocked to learn that the police couldn't do anything about it. In my country, this would have been considered economic violence, but since I learnt this economic abuse is legal in France! I never saw my money again. I had to start from scratch and take the first job I found to survive. Despite everything, three years later, I am proud of the progress made. I learned French, found a job in my field of expertise, I have great friends, and I can finally start saving again.

“Helen” - United Kingdom - 54 years old

I met him when I arrived in France, and he quickly became violent with me. Each time, he promised not to do it again. I was here illegally, and he told me that I had no chance without him because of this. I didn't even know where to go. Looking back, I now realise that he was trying to make me dependent on him. I ended up making an appointment with an association that helped me understand that I was a victim of violence and they helped me with my papers.

“Liu” - China - 28 years old

Because of my disability, it is very difficult to find a job for me. After my breakup, I was in a very stressful financial situation. Fortunately, I met a social worker who informed me about the existing systems. Now, I receive financial aid every month and get support from Cap Emploi in my job search and I have signed up for dance classes where I have made friends.

“Houda” - Tunisia - 43 years old

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