Plan for divorce without a judge sows discord in France

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The French National Assembly has approved a last-minute government amendment to legal reforms which would mean couples divorcing by mutual consent would not need to get the approval of a judge. The aim is to reduce the large backlog of cases in France's family court system. But as Michaël Hajdenberg reports, the plan has met with opposition from groups who fear it will harm the interests of children and victims of domestic abuse.

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The French government has put forward plans to change the way that couples can get divorced. Last Thursday, May 19th, Members of Parliament in the National Assembly backed an amendment to allow couples splitting through mutual consent to avoid having to appear before a judge to sanction it. Instead the couple would each hire a lawyer to negotiate the divorce settlement which would then be registered with a notary or notaire at a cost of 50 euros.