Divorce reform: the consequences in international law

divorce reform

From 1 September 2020, and in accordance with Decree 2019-1380 of 17 December 2019, the divorce reform will come into force. Among the major changes are the abolition of the petition and the non conciliation order. Indeed, the procedure will begin with the divorce summons, which is not without consequence in the case of international divorce.

In domestic law, the summons marks the beginning of the procedure, as recalled in the introduction. However, this is not the case in international matters. Indeed, it is the filing of the request that brings the case before the court. But what happens if the two spouses serve summonses simultaneously or almost simultaneously in two different States?

Divorce reform in the light of European law :

A compter du 1er septembre prochain, la procédure relèvera de l’article 16,1,b du règlement Européen Bruxelles II bis. Le juge sera donc saisi à la date à laquelle l’acte « est reçu par l’autorité chargée de la notification ou de la signification ».
Par conséquent, c’est cette date de transmission à l’autorité en charge de la notification ou de la signification qui entraînera la compétence de la juridiction française ou allemande par exemple, en cas de procédure transfrontalière entre ces deux états.

For France: the date on which the bailiff receives the summons determines the referral to the court. 

Divorce reform under international law :

It will still be necessary to determine the date of referral to the foreign judge under the national law of the country concerned.
On the French side, it is still the date of transmission to the bailiff that will determine the date of the referral to the judge.

Which solution should be used to determine the date of transmission of the summons to the bailiff? The safest solution seems to be for the bailiff to intervene. All he has to do is to transfer the date and time of receipt of the summons to be served to his document.

This solution is also provided for in Article 32 of the Brussels 1Bis Regulation:

« La juridiction ou l’autorité chargée de la notification ou de la signification visée au paragraphe 1, consigne respectivement la date du dépôt de l’acte introductif d’instance ou de l’acte équivalent ou la date de la réception des actes à notifier ou à signifier. »

Technology at the service of the lawyer in international divorce matters :

In order to determine the date of receipt of the summons by the bailiff, time-stamped transmission solutions exist. This is DELIVRACT, a service in the form of a platform that allows lawyers to file their documents to be served free of charge, anywhere in France. When the document is filed, the Delivract platform sends a signed acknowledgement of receipt from the bailiff to the lawyer drafting the document.

Also, transmission even in the middle of the night is immediately dated, which can be particularly useful.

divorce reform

For more information, please read the articles by Isabelle REIN-LESCASTEREYRES, associate lawyer at BWG Paris and Fabien TOMMASONE, associate bailiff at Leroi & Associé:

divorce reform