The French government plans to allow divorce by mutual consent to proceed without a judge, to simplify and accelerate the process.

Details are to be discussed at the lower house of parliament during a debate starting Tuesday on a bill to modernize the country's justice system.

Family associations expressed fears that the best interests of children would not be protected enough.

Justice minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said the process would cost about 50 euros ($56) at the notary office. Each spouse would be required to have a lawyer.

The divorce would still need to be pronounced by a judge if a child requests to be heard by a magistrate.

Urvoas told France Inter radio Tuesday he wants judges "to focus on the litigious divorce cases".