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France to debate easier divorces

French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira will receive
French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira will receive Reuters/Charles Platiau

A reform of French civil law code to speed up divorces will be submitted next week to Justice Minister Christiane Taubira. France is putting together a plan to allow divorces by mutual consent to proceed without a judge, simplifying a process that some critics say is already too easy.

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Under the proposal, a court clerk could approve divorces only when both spouses agree.

More than half (54 per cent) of the 128,371 divorces in France last year were by mutual consent.

According to the Le Figaro newspaper, divorcing couples spend an average of only eight minutes before a judge now.

Social Affairs Minister Dominique Bertinotti said simplifying the process would be a positive move and that court clerks are highly trained in the law and could handle those cases, while freeing up judges for trickier breakups.

Opponents say the plan will further weaken the institution of marriage.

Government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said on Friday that "any decision should be taken in a consultation process."

The report will be submitted on 10-11 January  to Justice minister Christiane Taubira.

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