This branch of private law governs the relationships between individuals who are related by marriage or family ties. Although there is no universally recognized legal definition of family, the family is nonetheless covered by several international agreements that aim to recognize and protect the rights of children.
Under French law, there are two types of unions: non-marital unions (cohabitation and civil unions or PACS) and marriage.
In principle, married couples can only end their marriage by going through divorce proceedings. However, other types of separation exist and have very different effects.
Children’s lives may be subject to legal intervention at various points, for example, when establishing parentage or organizing their relationships with their parents.
People who have reached majority and are considered vulnerable due to their situation (physical, psychological or social) may be protected by a judicial protective order covering both their person and their estate.
Globalization has led to an increase in family matters that involve a foreign aspect (binational couples, expatriated families, birth or death abroad) to which international laws apply: laws on divorce, marriage contracts, inheritances, international child abductions, etc.
Different types of unions exist, each of which leads to different rights and duties for the individuals in the couple. In an international context, we need to make sure that the union will be recognized both in France and abroad.
How a couple separates depends on the type of union they chose. For married couples, we need to pay attention to the jurisdiction in which the divorce will be filed.
Children may be affected by various matters that fall under international family law (habitual residence on the territory of a foreign country, movement across a border, etc.)
To protect a vulnerable adult, it may be necessary to resolve issues of private international law, such as jurisdiction, so that a protective order may be issued and recognized.
Estates are transferred after a death or on the basis of an estate plan. In an international context, this area of law has special characteristics due to the diversity of laws and taxes that may apply.