French Expatriate – Divorce Procedure in Quebec How Does It Happen?

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In Quebec, divorce comes under federal law. The lawyer of the French expatriate therefore has the obligation to inform him about the conditions to be respected and the grounds for requesting divorce in this province. He will also advise on the consequences of the separation and possibly on the return of the expatriate to France. However, in concrete terms, what is the divorce procedure in Quebec?

Fill out the form corresponding to the province of where you live where you are applying for a divorce

To start the divorce procedure in Quebec, you must fill out a form, which is available online and in the services of the Ministry of Justice. This document can also be withdrawn in the courts and in some bookstores. Once the form is completed, it must be filed with the competent court. The lawyer can also take care of the formalities and filing of the request with the judge. Also, you have to think about possibly paying the costs for the divorce petition with the court.

Use a law firm, dealing with divorces in family law

To divorce, it is recommended that the expatriate hire a lawyer in family law, to facilitate these steps. This specialist will assist him in legal proceedings relating to child custody, family patrimony, etc. In the event of divorce, all family assets including the pension are shared equally.

However, those who do not wish to share their retirement savings plan have the possibility of divorce in France. In this case, an approval is established by a Quebec judge to attest to this agreement. Moreover, property acquired before marriage by the divorced does not form part of the partition.

What are the conditions to be met to file for divorce in Quebec?

Certain conditions, including the presence of a lawyer, are required to file for divorce. Thus, a request for divorce for fault is initiated only after the establishment of a violation of the obligations of marriage. With regard to separation by mutual consent, the spouses must agree on the principle and the consequences of the divorce.

In the event of disagreement on the consequences, the judge defines the measures to be observed. In addition, for a divorce petition for alteration of marital life, a voluntary separation of the spouses for at least 2 years must be demonstrated.

What are the grounds for legitimate divorce in Quebec?

Separated couple sitting on the same sofa

The three main grounds for legitimate divorce in Quebec are:

  • an absence of common life for at least 1 year
  • l‘adultery
  • cruelty (physical or moral violence exerted by one of the spouses on the other)

For the first reason for separation, either of the spouses can request it. Regarding the last two grounds for divorce, only the victim is entitled to file the petition. Also, this one must bring the proof of the adultery or the cruelty of her husband or wife.

Return to France for one of the parents: how is the custody of the children?

Two little girl playing together

There are two possibilities for a divorced expatriate returning to France. Indeed, sole custody or shared custody applies to ex-spouses. If the French divorced parent has sole custody, he can return to France without hindrance. The Quebecois parent can hardly oppose his move.

However, in the case of shared custody, the judge will assess which of the parents is the primary parental figure. This concept is up to the judge, case law is not static on this subject. However, very young children are usually left with their mothers.

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