Getting a French divorce recognised in another country

The procedure to get a divorce granted in France recognised abroad varies depending on the country in question. Each country has its own procedure for recognising a foreign divorce judgment.

If you were divorced in France, you may need to ask another country to acknowledge the divorce ruling for it to be applicable there.

Verified by Maître Hansu Yalaz on 30/04/2022

What is involved?

If you need to ask the authorities of another country to enforce the terms ruled by the French judge during your divorce, you need to get your divorce recognised in that country. This is known as the “exequatur” of the divorce.

The procedure

  • There is a principle of free movement of judgments in the European Union.

    This means that French judgements apply in the other countries in the European Union, and vice versa.

    Your lawyer must ask the court that granted your divorce for a document known as a European Certificate or “certificat européen”.

    This document will prove that your divorce is recognised within the European Union. You may be asked for it during certain administrative procedures in another country.

  • Contact the authorities in your country to find out the procedure for recognising foreign divorces.

    For example, you can contact your embassy or consulate in France for information.

  • If you are a political refugee in France, you must not contact the authorities of your country of origin.

    Instead, please contact an organisation that offers free services called an “association” that specialises in rights of refugees.

Find support

In France, there are many services that can support you, give you advice, and assist you with procedures and paperwork. Most of them are free of charge.

  • The centres called “point-justice” bring together various organisations that give you legal advice depending on your situation, and sometimes help you with your administrative procedures.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • These centres have many names: “Maison de Justice et du Droit (MJD)”, “Point d’accès au droit (PAD)”, "Relais d’accès au droit (RAD)”, “Antenne de justice (AJ)” or “France services (FS)”.
    • Languages available: mainly French.
    • You can find a “point-justice” near you :
      • on this online directory.
      • by telephone on 3039 from mainland France and on +33 9 70 82 31 90 from overseas. They will ask you for your postal code and put you in touch with a “point-justice”. Languages available: mainly French.
  • Femmes Informations Juridiques Internationales Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (FIJI)” is an organization specializing in international family law.

    • This service is free.
    • Their team of lawyers will be able to answer your questions and provide you with advice concerning your separation, divorce and/or child custody matters. This is an information service only: they cannot represent you in legal proceedings, you will have to contact a lawyer for this.
    • Languages available: French, English.
    • Contact: by e-mail at [email protected] or by telephone on 04 78 03 33 63 from Monday to Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • A lawyer's role is to defend your rights before, during and after legal proceedings.

    • Be careful to choose a good lawyer.
    • Lawyers have fees that you will need to pay.
    • If you have limited resources, you could be eligible for state financial assistance to pay these fees. This is called "aide juridictionnelle".
    • If you have not had a lawyer recommended to you by a professional or a person you trust, you can look for one on this directory which lists all the lawyers in France. You can search by languages spoken and legal specialisation.

While the utmost care has gone into providing you with the most accurate and up to date information, this page is not intended to replace legal or professional advice. Laws and procedures change regularly so it is important to consult qualified professionals.

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