Living in France

Useful information about living in France.

Bringing French Style To Your Home

french style living room
Throughout history the French have been renowned for their opulence, culture, style and sophistication, which is what attracts many people to relocate to France and pay tribute to the varying French styles in their homes. Whether you’ve relocated to live in the heart of the French Dordogne or have a hankering to bring France to the hustle and bustle of aNew York City apartment, you can create the perfect French haven in your home.

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Helping your children integrate into the French schooling system

french school One of the main considerations for a family moving to France is how the French education system works, and how easily their children will integrate into it.

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Marrying a French citizen in France

marriageFrance is more and more attractive for foreigners: food, wine, fashion... and love !! What about the consequences of marrying a national in France? Before getting engaged, there are a few things you need to know about French Family law, from the requirements related to the celebration, up to inheritance...

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Join the France Social Network

France networkThe Lost in France social network helps you to expand your network of friends in France, you can share photos, videos, stay up to date and create or join groups. To get started just login to Lost in France and visit the Community page or if you haven't yet joined click here to register for free.

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French Product Recalls

product recallsThis is a useful site for both French and non French speakers that gives a list of French products that have been recalled for safety or other reasons...

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French Letter Boxes

post boxesOne small but often asked question about houses in France is whether it's possible to have an English style letter box where the post is delivered to the doormat rather than in a box outside and for some of us quite a distance from the front door...

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List of French Administrative Departments by Region

Map of the regions and departments of FranceA map and list of the administrative departments in France and their corresponding department numbers in order of region.

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Divorce Options for Expats in France

British Expat in France?

These days more and more English people are moving to France, for either part of each year, or permanently; or are retiring to a home in the sun.

However, the latest UK Government statistics show that forty-two percent of marriages break down, and whilst it is bad enough to go through the upset and trauma of divorce in the UK, the problems for expats living in France are very much worse in many cases.

You feel somehow disconnected from the help you could obtain in the UK, the Citizens Advice Bureau, the friendly local solicitor just down the road, the powers of the English courts and their ability to dispense swift and fair justice, and you really can't face the thought of going to a local lawyer, what with the language problems, the strange laws and customs, and you have heard that it takes years to get a divorce locally.

Under EU law you can, obtain a divorce in France, once you have become an 'habitual resident', (which is open to interpretation by a Judge). A divorce can be granted on either a joint submission by both parties that the marriage has broken down and they both wish for a dissolution, or by one party alleging intolerable behaviour, adultery or the fact that the parties have been separated for six years. In all cases, the parties must file a statement of full agreement reached about matrimonial property and assets, finances, custody of and access to children, and much more. The parties will have to appear before a Judge, who may then grant an interim separation order. There then follows a 'probationary period' of up to nine months, and the parties then have to go back to court to see if the Judge will grant a permanent dissolution.

Having read that you probably wish that you could do it all in England instead, but you probably also think that, because you are not currently a UK resident, you cannot use the English courts if the worst comes to the worst.

The good news is that in most circumstances you can, on the basis that you are 'domiciled' in England and Wales, (this does not apply to the rest of the UK). Domicile is a somewhat obscure legal concept but means, basically, that England and Wales is legally your ‘home country' and, so long as you have not formally and fully integrated into your new country of residence having cut all ties with England never to return that gives the English courts the jurisdiction to grant you a divorce for instance. Even if you have lived in a different country for many years it does not in most cases mean that in law you are no longer considered to be domiciled in England.

Not only that, but if you opt for an English divorce
  • Neither party has to appear in court at any stage
  • The whole case only takes around 16 weeks or so
  • The court does not need to deal with matrimonial property or finances in order to grant a divorce
  • The court does not need to consider custody issues, (in fact the concept of 'custody' has been abolished in the UK) in order to finalise the divorce
  • In short, an English divorce these days is quick and inexpensive.
However, there are very few law firms in the UK able to deal this type of case, as specialist knowledge is required in such things as the EU Council Regulations on Divorce, dealing with 'Euro' aspects of cross-border divorce procedure, recognition of court orders between member states, and other things that you do not need to worry about once you have found a divorce lawyer who specialises in this type of work.

Some of the firms that do this highly specialised type of work will give you a fixed-fee quote for the case, so you know exactly what it is going to cost, and won't get any nasty surprises at the end of the case.

A word of warning though, it may be to your advantage to divorce in England but better perhaps for your spouse if matters were dealt with under French law. The general position is that, where you have the choice to divorce in France or in England, which many expat couples living in France will have, the Courts of both member states work on a ‘first come, first served basis.’ If your spouse issues proceedings first you lose the choice; you need clear expert advice therefore and time is of the essence.

Finally, a word about coming to agreement about matrimonial assets: you may be wondering, given the points above, how the matrimonial assets would be dealt with by an English court? Firstly, the divorce courts do not deal with any of the matrimonial assets during the divorce case itself, and will not do so until after Decree Nisi has been pronounced and even then only when the parties cannot reach agreement. Any financial or property disputes are then dealt with as an entirely separate case (an ancillary case).

Most solicitors will strongly advise you to agree, agree, agree when it comes to agreeing a financial settlement, even if it means a compromise. Once agreement has been reached, the court will issue what is known as a Final Order by Consent without the need for any court hearings.

This article was written by Woolley & Co, Solicitors, family law specialists acting for expats throughout France and indeed the rest of the world. The Woolley & Co lawyers offer a free initial telephone appointment to discuss your particular circumstances. You can book a telephone or skype appointment online at www.family-lawfirm.co.uk or contact Woolley & Co by calling +441789 330310.

SOS Help Line - English speaking support service

SOS Help is a voluntary community service offering emotional support to English-speaking people in France...

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Trees For Firewood

TreesEnjoy the warm glow of an open fire in your French home, from open fires to wood burners Dave Robins takes a look at which woods are best for burning and the most efficient methods of heating your home using wood.

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Domestic Violence in France

Domestic violence knows no boundaries and it affects women of all ages, colours, creeds and social backgrounds...

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Buying Logs and Firewood in France

log pileIn France wood is usually bought by the cord which is a unit of volume used to measure firewood a cord should be a neat stack of logs 3m x 1m x 1m, some suppliers will sell by the stere a smaller measurement of equating to 1/3rd of a cord...

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In an Emergency...

French emergency numbers and other essential phone numbers for you to print out & keep...

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The French Education System

An EU fact sheet on schools and education in France, detailing primary, secondary, further education and universities.

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