My sister lives in France. She and her husband have just split up. DS10, DD6. ExH has moved out and he is only paying half the mortgage - no maintenance etc.
Once the rawness is less sore, she is planning to see a solicitor, but for now she is very concerned about the house. Can anyone tell me what is "normal" for property in this situation in France? Will she be expected to sell the house? Would it be normal to allow her to keep it until youngest child is out of school? What about is the DC go to uni?
Only thing I can suggest is that she contact Message Paris (www.messageparis.org). There might be a charge to join but there will definitely be people in similar situation (whether she is in Ile de France or not). I was on their forum the other day and there was someone in a very similar situation.
French divorce law is a lot less generous to mothers than English divorce law. Most unlikely that your sister will get to keep the house if her exH hasn't another similar house to live in. Does your sister work?
They were married in the UK, then moved (back) to France the following week. They'd been living in the UK for a year before that, and she'd been living and working in France for about 5 years before that. Both DC born in Monaco, but they live just into France. No other property between them.
If they were married in the UK that is generally good news as far as division of matrimonial assets is concerned, but it is hard to judge without more info. Your sister should definitely contact a good divorce lawyer who understands her régimematrimonialASAP.
Thanks Bonsoir (are you the same person as BonsoirAnna?). I know she does, we keep telling her (inc family friend who is an English divorce lawyer), but she still seems to think he'll be home by Christmas. It's been about a month, so she needs to get real, but she also needs to come to that realisation herself. She works almost full time - 9 days a fortnight - but did not work for 3 years after DD was born.
If your sister has one DD and works almost full time, she probably will get half the joint matrimonial assets and a tiny weeny bit of maintenance for her DD. She needs to be prepared for her DD to spend a lot of time with her father...
Thanks again Anna. They also have a DS (10). DD is 6. SO looks like the house will go, there is no way she can afford to buy H out. I will join the queue of people nagging her to see a solicitor. Thanks for pointing me in direction of Message Paris, have found it on www and sent her link, with sugguestion that "My French Friend" has sugguested it might help her. I do actually have a French friend in UK.
Your sister can also get free legal advice from the local "barreau", which will hold sessions for people to drop in and ask questions. From what you say, she may be in the jurisdiction of the Nice bar. I've had a quick scout on their website and can't find anything about their sessions, but if you can confirm that she's around there I could try and have a better look when I'm not meant to be working.
She might not get the absolute best advice, but it would get the ball rolling and going to a free session might seem less formal than calling up a lawyer out of the phone book, paying and so on. If she's in denial then she could view it as research rather than actually taking steps to organise her post-husband existence.
If you want to e-mail me on email@example.com and let me know exactly where she is, I could try and find out about good divorce lawyers in her area. (Tell me if you do e-mail me, though, as I never check that account)