PACS with a U.S. citizen – obtaining a certificat de coutume et de célibat

An attorney admitted to the  practice of the law in one of the states of the United States of America has the legal right to establish for a citizen of the United States a “certificat de coutume et de célibat” when a  couple wishe to file in France a French Civil Covenant of Solidarity (called in French a “PACS” or “une pacte civil de solidarité“). One of the two partners must have French nationality. (To review the French law on PACS, click here). (Such attorney can also furnish a similar certificate when an American citizen wishes enter into a French PACS. For further information on marriages in France, click here.)

 In order for such attorney to prepare the certificat de coutume et de célibat, the attorney will need the following:

  • a copy of the passport of the future American partner
  • a copy of all divorce decrees and/or prior PACS (civil union) of the future American partner

After reviewing such documents, the attorney will prepare in French a draft attestation for signature by the future American partner. (If the future American partner does not understand written French, a translations can also be provided.)

Upon receipt of the signed attestation, the attorney will be able to issue the certificat de coutume et de célibat.

The French Civil Covenant of Solidarity (pacte civil de solidarité) is filed with the clerk of the Tribunal where the future French partner is or plans to be domiciled. It is possible that the clerk of the Tribunal may also request that the Tribunal be furnished with a separate document emanating from the United State Consulate in Paris.  The document is called a “Attestation Tenant Lieu de Certificat de Coutume et de Celibat“. (Click here to obtain a copy of such form.)

However, it may not be convenient for the future American partner to go to the United States Consulate. In my judgment, the French law does not obligate the filing of such second document and it may be necessary that the attorney call the clerk at the Tribunal and explain such fact and try to convince the clerk that such second certificate need not be furnished.

Author: Jonathon Wise Polier
Avocat aux Barreaux de Paris et de New York
Attorney-at-Law (Paris & New York)

Sample Attestation
Annexe au Certificat de Coutume de Maître POLIER Annex to the Certificat de Coutume of Attorney POLIER
 La soussignée, Judy SMITH, née dans l’État du New York, États-Unis d’Amérique le 22 mai 1964, déclare sur l’honneur que : The undersigned, Judy SMITH, born in the State of New York, United States of American, on 22 May 1964 hereby declares as follows:
  • Je suis célibataire, majeure et capable de me marier ;
  • Je n’ai jamais été marié et je n’ai jamais conclu un PACS (pacte civil de solidarité) ;
  • Je suis de nationalité américaine (numéro de passeport américain 12345678).
  • I am single, of age, and have the legal capacity to be married;’
  • I have never been married and I have never entered into a PACS (a civil union); and
  • I am a citizen of the United States of American and my U.S. passport number is 12345678.
Je délivre la présente attestation à Maître POLIER, Avocat aux Barreaux de NEW-YORK et de PARIS.  I am delivering this attestation to Attorney POLIER, a member of the New York and Paris Bars.
La soussignée est parfaitement consciente que l’article 441-7 du code pénal réprime l’établissement d’attestation faisant état des faits matériellement inexacts.  The undersigned understands that Article 441-7 of the French Penal Code provides for punishment if an attestation states facts that are materially incorrect.
Fait à New York City, le 11 mai 2015.  Executed in New York City on 11 May 2015
 Judy Smith   Judy Smith