Divorce is always a complicated time for spouses. Being informed of the possibilities and rights available to them, as well as the procedures to anticipate, allows them to better prepare for this sometimes painful event.
Before starting a divorce procedure, the spouses have to make a choice: they can divorce either by mutual consent or for an irremediable breakdown of the marital relationship.
As a general rule, the procedure by mutual consent is quicker and less costly, but it requires the spouses to agree on all the points of discussion.
In this guide, we will deal only with divorce by mutual consent. Another guide on divorce on the grounds of irremediable breakdown of the marital relationship will be published shortly.
Since the new divorce law of 27 June 2018, there are no longer any specific conditions for starting divorce proceedings. Spouses can start this procedure regardless of their age and the duration of their marriage.
However, the spouses, or at least one of them, must reside in Luxembourg to start a divorce procedure in Luxembourg.
If the spouses have property to share, in particular real estate or important assets (such as a car), they must ask a notary to make an inventory and estimate them.
Then a divorce agreement (Convention de divorce) must be written by a lawyer Avocat à la Cour (or several if the spouses each take a lawyer, but they can take the same one) or by a notary.
The Convention is then submitted to the Court clerk's office of the district Court with territorial jurisdiction (Tribunal d'Arrondissement, one in Luxembourg, one in Diekirch). It is not necessary to go through a lawyer to submit the Convention, but it is always advisable to go through someone who is familiar with the procedure to be followed.
The spouses are then summoned by the Court clerk to a hearing (which is not public), during which the family law judge (Juge aux affaires familiales) will check the spouses' consent to divorce. They must attend the hearing in person, accompanied by a lawyer if they wish.
During the hearing the judge can ask the spouses to make changes in the Convention and the spouses have six weeks to do so. They must then submit the new Convention and are summoned again.
If the Convention is acceptable to the judge, he or she decides to approve it. The judge then pronounces the divorce and issues a judgment in which the Convention is fully incorporated.
When reviewing the divorce agreement at the hearing, the judge takes into account the best interests of the children and checks that the interests of the spouses are respected. If the judge considers that these interests are not respected, he or she can ask for the Convention to be amended.
The spouses then have six weeks to submit a new Convention. If the new Convention does not meet the judge's requirements, the judge may refuse to grant the divorce. The spouses can appeal against the decision, usually within 40 days.
Once the judge homologates the divorce agreement and pronounces the divorce judgment, the divorce Convention becomes applicable to the former spouses definitively. If they so wish, the former spouses may subsequently apply to have the divorce Convention amended. To do so, they must submit a request following the classic litigation procedure, applying to the family Court.
There are three costs related to the procedure of divorce by mutual consent:
You will find more information about these costs below. Keep in mind that normally the costs will be shared equally between the spouses, unless you decide otherwise.
If you have joint property (movable or immovable, i.e. furnitures, vehicles and real estate), you must go through a notary to have an inventory drawn up and an estimate made. If necessary, the notary may call in external experts to appraise some of your property.
Depending on the size of the assets and the properties to be listed, the cost of this inventory and the estimates will probably be between 2.5% and 5% of the total estimated value of your property. For example, if you own furniture with an estimated value of 10,000€, a vehicle with an estimated value of 20,000€ and a flat with an estimated value of 600,000€, the inventory and valuation of your possessions will most likely cost between 15,750€ and 31,500€.
The divorce agreement must be written either by a lawyer Avocat à la Cour or by a notary.
The notary will be able to meet you and write the divorce agreement, but he will not usually file the divorce request with the Court clerk's office on your behalf and will not accompany you to the hearing that follows. You will need to count from a good 100€ for the simplest agreements (no joint children, no joint property) to a few thousand euros for the more complete documents.
If you choose a lawyer, you can also ask him or her to file the divorce request on your behalf and he or she may come with you to the divorce hearing. However, the lawyer charges usually by the hour, with an average hourly rate often around 150€ (excluding VAT). It is generally necessary to anticipate at least 5 hours of work by the lawyer, to meet you, write the Convention, review the attached documents and file the request. Add at least two more hours if the lawyer comes with you to the hearing. This will therefore at least cost you a total of between 750€ and 1,050€. Some lawyers sometimes offer a fixed price. In this case, it is often necessary to count between 1,000€ and 2,000€.
Remember that if you do not have any resources, you can always apply for legal assistance.
In general, these costs are very limited and do not exceed a hundred euros. You have to print the divorce request in as many copies as there are parties and pay the postage costs if necessary, which is never an excessive price.
Please note that a distinction must be made between the costs of the divorce proceedings, which are directly linked to the procedure for obtaining the divorce (see previous question), and the financial impact that occurs once the divorce has been granted.
We can distinguish three financial impacts that arise from the divorce.
When your divorce is pronounced, the assets you had in common with your spouse will be divided (unless you were already under the regime of separation of property). This division will necessarily result in a reduction of your assets. For example, if you had a house or a flat, you may have to sell it and you and your spouse will share the proceeds of the sale, instead of owning it all together. Fees, including registration and notary fees, may arise when you sell your property. Debts are also often an important element that will directly impact the respective financial situations of the spouses. For the loans you have, particularly property loans, you must either decide to take on the burden alone (very often if you retain ownership of the property), or repay the loans early by selling your property (which may result in penalties from your bank), or by deciding to continue repaying the loan together (but be careful if one of the spouses suddenly decides not to pay them any more). In the context of the division of assets, there is also the question of the division of bank assets. If you have joint accounts, they will be shared between you. However, as long as the divorce has not been pronounced, either spouse is free to use this money freely. So remember to close these accounts as soon as possible and revoke any powers of attorney your spouse may have over your personal accounts.
As a result of divorce, one spouse may have to pay the other a financial contribution (to help with the maintenance and education of children) or a maintenance payment (to enable the other spouse to maintain a certain standard of living, particularly if there is a clear imbalance between the spouses' respective incomes). These payments will directly affect the income of the spouse who will have to pay them, and it is important to take into account this impact, which lasts for several years, often until the age of majority of all children.
For the tax authorities, your situation will change, and you will now be taxed as a single person (tax class 1) or as a single parent if you still have dependent children (tax class 1a), and no longer, where applicable, as a married couple (tax class 2). This change of class implies a slightly higher tax rate. Note, however, that only your income, and no longer that of your spouse, will be taken into account, which is likely to reduce your total tax liability.
Legal Finder can doubly help you in your application for divorce by mutual consent in Luxembourg.
Firstly, Legal Finder has set up an exclusive "Divorce by mutual consent" offer with rates negotiated with our partner lawyers (coming soon). You can therefore choose the formula and the partner lawyer of your choice. The offer takes place in two steps: first, you fill in a questionnaire on the Legal Finder website, indicating all the information necessary for the writing of your divorce agreement. In a second step, Legal Finder will forward this information to the lawyer who will meet you to finalise the process.
Secondly, Legal Finder always offers you the possibility to make an appointment with [a lawyer specialised in family law] (https://www.legalfinder.lu/en/search?d=lf_family). Please note, however, that in this case you will not benefit from the rates negotiated by Legal Finder and offered in the "Divorce by Mutual Consent" offers.
Here are some useful links to find additional information on the procedure of divorce by mutual consent:
You can also find all the legal provisions concerning divorce by mutual consent in the Civil Code.
We remind you that this Guide is provided for information purposes only, and despite the utmost care in its drafting, Legal Finder cannot be held responsible for any erroneous or outdated information provided in this Guide. All prices shown are provided for information purposes only and may vary. It is your responsibility to check with the professionals who will be accompanying you beforehand.
This Guide was written on 04/11/2020. Changes in legislation after this date are therefore not taken into account above.
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