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French PACS & UK civil partnership


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French civil partnership dissolution

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French Civil partnership dissolution proceedings

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French civil partnership dissolution consequences

PacisLexis Family Law

civil partnership lawyer

In France, “PACS” stands for “Pacte civil de solidarité,” which is “Civil partnership” in English. It is a form of a legal contract that provides legal recognition and some of the benefits associated with marriage or a civil union for couples who choose not to get married. PACS was introduced in France in 1999 as a way to offer legal protections and benefits to unmarried couples, including same-sex couples. However, PACS and civil partnership are totally different when coming to a dissolution.

P.AC.S is distinct from marriage in that it does not carry the same cultural or religious connotations and does not come with all of the same legal benefits. Couples can dissolve a PACS by themselves, but it is definitely easier compared to a divorce.

In France, the partners commit to the terms of an agreement under private signature (drawn up by the partners or their lawyers) or by authentic act (drawn up by a notary). The agreement must be registered by the civil registration services at the town hall of the partners’ place of residence, the notary, the diplomatic agent, or the consular agent (Article 515-3 of the French Civil Law). The identity of the partner is then entered in the margin of the birth certificate of the other partner.

While PACS in France and civil partnerships in the UK share similarities in providing legal recognition and rights to couples who choose not to marry, they have some differences in terminology, history, cultural context and dissolution. The legal benefits and dissolution processes are not the same.

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French civil partnership dissolution

Can a partner file a sole application for a PACS dissolution?

Yes !

As the dissolution of a PACS is less formal than the marriage, one partner can dissolve the PACS without getting the prior agreement of the other.

Can both partners file a joint application for a PACS dissolution?


Both partners can mutually agree to dissolve the PACS.

Is the French Civil partnership considered to be dissolved if a partner is getting married?


If a partner is getting married either to the other partner or someone else, the PACS is considered as dissolved.

Is the French civil partnership considered to be dissolved if a partner dies?


The death of one of the partners is a cause for the dissolution of the PACS within the meaning of Article 515-7 of the Civil Code.

The dissolution of the PACS is automatic, and there are no steps to be taken further.

What is a civil partnership in the UK/USA?

A civil partnership is a legally recognised relationship between two individuals that provides legal rights and responsibilities like marriage. However, the specific details of civil partnerships can vary by country. Here’s an overview of civil partnerships in the UK and the USA:

  1. United Kingdom (UK):

In the UK, a civil partnership is a legal arrangement available to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. It was initially introduced in 2004 as a way to provide legal recognition and protections to same-sex couples before same-sex marriage became legal. In 2014, the law was changed to allow opposite-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships as well.

Key points about civil partnerships in the UK:

  • They offer legal recognition, financial and property rights, and responsibilities similar to marriage.
  • Civil partnership ceremonies are available but are usually easier and more secular than traditional wedding ceremonies.
  • Dissolving a civil partnership in the UK involves a formal legal process, similar to divorce, and addresses property and financial matters.


  1. United States (USA):

In the United States, civil partnerships or domestic partnerships are not as widely recognized or standardised as they are in the UK. Marriage laws are primarily regulated at the state level, and not all states have established legal provisions for civil partnerships.

Some states, like California and Oregon, have domestic partnership laws that provide legal rights and protections to unmarried couples, including same-sex couples. These rights may include healthcare and visitation rights, inheritance, and more.

In some states, same-sex marriage is legal, making civil partnerships less relevant for same-sex couples. However, laws vary from state to state, and the legal landscape can change.

It’s essential to consult the specific laws and regulations of the state or country in question for the most up-to-date information on civil partnerships. Laws can change over time, and the legal rights and responsibilities associated with civil partnerships can vary widely depending on your location.

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French Civil partnership  dissolution proceedings

What to do when a partner wants a PACS to be dissolved?

The partner who wishes to end the PACS must file a sole application. At the same time, the partner who wishes to end a PACS, must communicate their intention to the other.

The partner must then send a copy of this notification to the authority that registered the PACS (civil registrar, notary, consular agent, or diplomatic agent).

This is a significant difference from the dissolution of marriage. In fact, it is only possible to divorce with the agreement of one’s spouse (divorce by mutual consent, non-contested divorce) or in the presence of a justifying reason (fault-based divorce, divorce due to permanent breakdown of the marriage).

What to do when both partners wish to end their PACS?

The written declaration of termination or the PACS dissolution agreement must be registered at the town hall (mairie) or any French authority where the initial PACS was registered.

The PACS termination is officially recorded at this point.

What to do when the PACS has been recorded abroad?

When the PACS is conclude abroad, the joint or sole application must be addressed to the diplomatic or consular agent.

How to dissolve a UK civil partnership?

To dissolve a civil partnership in the United Kingdom, you will need to go through a legal process similar to divorce. The steps to dissolve a civil partnership in the UK are as follows:

  • Eligibility: Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. In the UK, you can dissolve a civil partnership if it has been in place for at least one year, and you can prove that the partnership has broken down irretrievably.
  • File a Dissolution Petition: The partner wishing to dissolve the civil partnership (the petitioner) must complete a dissolution petition. This is a formal legal document that outlines the reasons for the dissolution and any claims regarding financial matters, such as property or maintenance.
  • Submit the Petition: The completed dissolution petition should be submitted to the court with the appropriate fee. You’ll need to choose the court that is geographically relevant to your situation.
  • Serving the Petition: The court will send a copy of the dissolution petition to the other partner (the respondent). They will need to respond to the petition within a specified time frame.
  • Acknowledgment of Service: The respondent acknowledges the receipt of the dissolution petition by completing an Acknowledgment of Service form and returning it to the court.
  • Apply for the Conditional Order: If both partners agree to the dissolution, the petitioner can apply for a Conditional Order. This is similar to a decree in divorce proceedings.
  • Apply for the Final Order: After a waiting period of at least six weeks and one day from the Conditional Order, the petitioner can apply for the Final Order (equivalent to a decree absolute in divorce). This finalizes the dissolution.
  • Financial Arrangements: During the dissolution process, you may need to address financial and property matters. These can be resolved by agreement between the partners or, if necessary, through the court.
  • Completion: Once the Final Order is granted, the civil partnership is officially dissolved. Both partners will receive a certificate of dissolution.

It’s important to note that the dissolution process for civil partnerships in the UK is legally complex.

Many people seek legal advice and assistance, especially if there are financial or child custody matters to be resolved.

Consulting with a family law lawyer, such as PacisLexis Family Law can provide guidance and support throughout the process.

Civil partnership lawyer

French civil partnership dissolution

When is PACS considered to be dissolved for both partners?

The written declaration of termination or the PACS dissolution agreement must be registered at the town hall (mairie) where the initial PACS was registered.- this includes the civil registrar, notary, consular agent, or diplomatic agent.

In the case of a partner’s death, the dissolution of the PACS becomes effective at the date of the partner’s death.

When is PACS considered to be dissolved for third parties?

After registration, the town hall will notify the partners about the dissolution.

The PACS is considered officially dissolved three months after the registration date at the town hall, unless the partners specify a later date in the termination agreement.

The town hall will also inform the partners about any other administrative authorities that need to be informed about the dissolution, such as tax people or social services.

Updating Records: The names of the former partners are removed from each other’s birth certificates.

Dividing money and belongings when you separate?

If there are property and financial matters that need to be solved, they should be handled according to the terms outlined in the dissolution agreement or between both partners.

What to do if both partners do not agree on assets and property division?

In case of disagreement, the family law judge must be ceased.

Can you get spousal maintenance with a PACS?


Spousal maintenance is only divorce-based.

What to do if your partner owes you money?

If your partner owes you money, they have to pay you back when legal services serve you the final order.

What happens for both partners children?

In case of separation, whether it’s a divorce, dissolution of a civil partnership (PACS), or the end of cohabitation, arrangements regarding minor children need to be considered. This involves addressing issues related to visitation rights, accommodation, and child maintenance.

It’s advisable to prioritize an amicable approach to resolve the children’s situation. In case of ongoing disagreements, parents can seek intervention from the Family Court judge.

In case of one partner’s death, does the other one inherit?


If there is no will, the surviving partner can’t inherit.

Dividing money and assets when you separate in the UK when you are in a civil partnership

When you are in a civil partnership, you will need to address the division of money and assets. This typically involves determining how financial matters, including property, savings, debts, and other assets, will be divided between you and your partner. It’s essential to consider the following key aspects:

  • Financial Agreement: If you and your partner can reach an amicable financial agreement, you can decide how to divide your assets and debts without the need for court intervention. This agreement should be legally documented, typically in a financial order or a consent order.
  • Seeking Legal Advice: It’s highly advisable to consult with a family law lawyer who specializes in civil partnership dissolution. They can provide guidance on how to navigate financial settlements, including considering the division of assets, maintenance, and any other relevant financial matters.
  • Mediation: If you and your partner are struggling to reach a financial agreement, you may consider mediation. A trained mediator can help facilitate discussions and reach a resolution without the need for court proceedings.
  • Court Proceedings: If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation or mediation, you may need to initiate court proceedings for the court to make a financial order. The court will consider various factors, including the financial needs and contributions of each partner, as well as the welfare of any children involved.
  • Child Maintenance: if you have children together, child maintenance should be considered. The court can determine child maintenance amounts and schedules if necessary.
  • Property Division: When it comes to property, it’s important to determine whether to sell the property and divide the proceeds or whether one partner will buy out the other’s share. Property ownership, contributions, and future housing needs are factors that the court considers.
  • Debts: Debts incurred during the civil partnership may also need to be divided. These can include loans, credit card debts, and mortgages.
  • Pensions: Consider the division of pension assets, as pensions accumulated during the civil partnership are typically considered shared assets.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that each situation is unique, and the approach to dividing money and assets during a civil partnership separation can vary significantly based on individual circumstances. Seeking professional legal advice and guidance is highly recommended to ensure that your rights and responsibilities are protected and that the process is carried out in a legally sound and fair manner.

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When necessary, our experienced family law lawyers will represent you in a contested divorce, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the legal proceedings.

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