Just a short hop across the channel, the French government are about to start debating a change in the law to allow couples to divorce without judicial intervention. If the bill goes through, couples who mutually agree to go their separate ways will no longer need to appear in front of a Judge. With endless cries across the English legal profession for a move to 'no fault' divorce, our eyes will be firmly fixed on this debate. All previous attempts to change the law here have failed: it seems impossible to throw off the old narrative of 'divorce must never be too easy'. As if making divorce quicker, less painful, less costly, and most importantly, less damaging to any children of the marriage would be the end of society as we know it!
The French government plans to allow divorce by mutual consent to proceed without a judge, to simplify and accelerate the process. Details are to be discussed Tuesday in the lower house of parliament during debate on a bill to modernize the country's justice system. Justice minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said the process would cost about 50 euros ($56) at the notary office. Each spouse would be required to have a lawyer. The divorce would still need to be pronounced by a judge if a child requests to be heard by a magistrate. France has 66,000 divorces by mutual consent every year already, representing 54 percent of all divorces in 2015, according to the justice minister.