Registered partnership: what you need to know

In recent years, fewer and fewer people are married in the Netherlands. At the same time, the number of people entering into a registered partnership is increasing. However, a registered partnership is relatively unknown outside the Netherlands. This article explains what the consequences of a registered partnership may be for you, what the differences between a marriage and a registered partnership are and how a registered partnership is dealt with abroad.

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Divorce in the Netherlands 2020 – what you need to know

Relationships can change at any stage of our lives, including while living in another country. If the time comes to get divorced, understanding your legal rights will help you achieve the best possible outcome.

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The (not so) amicable truth about divorce

Many people believe that they will be able to make the end of their relationship civil – but unfortunately, this does not always happen. Instead, escalating hurt and anger cause hostility and make communication difficult. In such circumstances, the divorce process is anything but friendly. This is where a good divorce lawyer can help.

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How to get divorced in the Netherlands – a guide for expats

If you want to get divorced, and you live in the Netherlands, you need to:

  1. Confirm if you can get divorced in the Netherlands
  2. Get a lawyer. You cannot represent yourself.
  3. Find out how to get the best possible divorce. This includes making specific agreements about your children and other important matters.
  4. Go through the legal process of a divorce.

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Why you don’t need a reason to get divorced in the Netherlands

According to Dutch law, it doesn’t matter why you want to get divorced. This fact surprises many expats. Antoine de Werd of GMW lawyers explains why this rule in Dutch law exists, and what it means for you.

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Divorce and inheritance news for expats

Are you an international (expat) in the Netherlands? Are you going through a divorce? Have you received an inheritance or gift? If your answer to these questions is yes, read on…

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Inheritance law for expats in the Netherlands – key considerations

Inheritance is fundamentally a difficult subject to think about, but as an expat with family in other countries, it can be even harder as you have to deal with contradictory and confusing international laws during a difficult time. Here are some key considerations to simplify inheritance law for expats living in the Netherlands.

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Who will guard your child when you’re gone?

Historically, if you wanted to designate a guardian for your child, it had to be done by will. Today, a new option is available which makes this process cheaper and easier: appointing a guardian via the parental authority register.

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Top 10 FAQ about divorce in the Netherlands for expats

The world is global, and so are today’s marriages. When it comes to getting divorced this can make it complicated – but for those who wish to divorce in the Netherlands, there are 10 tips which help keep it simple. Marjet Groenleer answers the top 10 most frequently asked questions about divorce for expats living in the Netherlands.

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Help! My ex-partner took my child abroad, what can I do?

The world is global, and so are today’s relationships. With more and more children born into international relationships, the number of travelling families grows. This explains the increase of the number of child abductions. So what can you do if you are the left-behind parent?

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Same-sex marriage & divorce

Is it always possible for homosexual couples to file a divorce in the Netherlands? Since 2001, Dutch law recognises marriage between two persons of the same sex. With recognition of same-sex marriage, the Netherlands also offers the possibility for same-sex couples to file for divorce.

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Attention divorcing Aussies!

Suppose you are an Australian, now living in The Netherlands. While you were living in Australia, you got married. During your marriage, you received an inheritance following your parents’ death in Australia. You’re now facing divorce in The Netherlands. Do you have to share your inheritance with your ex?

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Divorce: nowhere easier than in the Netherlands

There are an enormous number of things that make up a divorce. Not only the divorce petition itself, but also various further arrangements which the spouses need to agree upon. These include the parental contact, maintenance (alimony) and the allocation of assets. Agreeing on divorce arrangements is no easier in the Netherlands than any other country. However, obtaining a divorce in the Netherlands is easier.

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Recognising foreign spousal maintence decisions

What if a court in America or Switzerland or elsewhere has made a ruling on spousal maintenance and you want to invoke it to claim against their assets in the Netherlands?

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Pay your ex-partner’s divorce costs?

Most Dutch marriages are still based on community of property. But who pays the lawyers’ costs in the event of a divorce? Does this come under the marital estate or do the spouses pay their own costs?

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When does Dutch law apply to divorce?

Although Dutch divorce law stipulates rules about pensions, for internationals in the Netherlands going through a divorce, it may very well be that a different law is applied to the question of spousal maintenance from the law applied to the matrimonial property. In order to determine which law should be applied in respect of maintenance we need to consult other sources besides the Hague Marriage Convention of 1978.

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Moving without your partner’s consent

If you share parental authority of your children with your ex-partner, moving into a new home with them is not straightforward and moving abroad without the consent of your ex-partner’s is viewed as child abduction.

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Death in the Netherlands – how to deal with inheritance issues

The death of a relative is never an easy thing to deal with, but can be even more complicated and distressing when you live in a foreign country. What does Dutch law say about succession and inheritance?

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Statutory indexation of child and spousal alimony

Each year, the Minister of Justice determines the alimony index. For 2018, due to inflation, the percentage is 1.5%. This means that the allowance concluded in your divorce convenant or court order has an automatic increase of 1.5% as of January 1, 2018. This percentage is based on the labor price index, determined by Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek/CBS).

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Misconceptions in international family law

More and more, people find love across the border. They fall in love with someone living abroad or with a different nationality. While the relationship flourishes all is fine, but what if the marriage fails?

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A divorce under common law in the Netherlands

In most European countries, the legal system is based on Roman law, with the law laid down in codes. In Anglo-American countries, the law, known as common law is laid down in jurisprudence based on customary law. Countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have a legal system based on customary law. In practice, this difference in approach can cause problems in divorce cases involving both legal systems.

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International and Dutch matrimonial law Q&A

One of the less obvious effects of globalisation is the growing number of international marriages worldwide. Online news platform Lawyer Monthly did an interview with international family law experts Antoine de Werd and Marjet Groenleer from GMW lawyers, The Hague, the Netherlands. The interview was about the marital property regime as well as issues of competence and applicable law in divorce cases in The Netherlands.

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International Child Abduction

Abduction can be extremely damaging for a child and is never the solution to a problematic situation.

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Affairs and other grounds for divorce

Many people still believe that the courts are interested in the grounds for divorce. This is a common misconception because the truth is, the courts do not care about the reasons for divorce.

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September 8, 2017: The Day of Divorce

Friday, September 8, 2017 is the Day of Divorce. This is a day when you can obtain information about divorce from specialist lawyers.

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Internationals filing for divorce in the Netherlands

Internationals filing for divorce in the Netherlands are often stunned by the far-reaching financial consequences of Dutch marital property law, more specifically the Dutch ‘regime of community of assets and property’.

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Travelling abroad with children

Don’t be caught unprepared at the airport if you’re flying with your children. Learn what the rules are for travelling abroad with your children.

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Maintenance calculation for internationals part 4: allowances & high costs

The third blog within the series on maintenance calculation for internationals listed the allowances which internationals usually receive. Against most allowances, there are high costs associated with the existence of an international. How are these taken into account?

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Maintenance calculation for internationals part 3: partner maintenance

The previous two blogs on maintenance calculation for internationals focused on the costs of the children (blog 1 and blog 2). This third post in the series focuses on partner maintenance (alimony), which is determined by the available means in the marriage.

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Maintenance calculation internationals part 2: extra costs for children

Part 1 of this blog series on maintenance calculation for internationals talked about maintenance for children of internationals. After a divorce within an international family, often the ex-spouses spread over different countries. Contact between the non-caring parent and his/her children therefore incurs more costs than compliance with contact arrangements within national borders. How does the maintenance (alimony) calculation deal with these extra costs?

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Maintenance calculation part 1: children of internationals

Many foreigners live and work in the Netherlands. Particularly in The Hague and surrounding areas, there are many international organisations and companies, including EPO, Estec, OPCW, NATO, ICC, the tribunals as well as Shell and Siemens.

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Spell it out and let them know

When abroad, the death of a friend or colleague brings home to you how much trouble unfinished business can add to sorrow. For lasting peace of mind, dare to take the extra step and review the scenario you’d prefer in the case of your untimely demise: draw up a last will and make things easy for those you love.

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Child abduction by a parent: it happens more often than one might think

What is child abduction?

In legal terms, child abduction is the removal of a child from his or her habitual place of residence by one of the parents or custodial parent, without the consent and agreement of the (other) custodian or parent. Although it might not be immediately obvious, not returning the child on time, as agreed, after a holiday abroad or after a family visit to the country of origin also counts as child abduction. The same holds for expat families living in The Netherlands for short periods of time or for families living apart most of the time. In these cases, establishing the habitual place of residence of a child is more difficult than may seem at first sight.

Recent case law indicates an increase in the number of child abduction cases. Although each case has its unique circumstances, the increased dynamics of the global work force may be one reason for this development.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980) is a legal tool. It is meant to help a/the custodial parent regain access to the abducted child. This tool facilitates the return of the minor to his or her habitual place of residence. By appointing a Central Authority in each country, the signatory parties have agreed to co-operate towards the immediate return of the abducted child to his or her habitual place of residence.

The custodial parent can seek assistance from the Central Authority of his or her country of residence. This can be done within one year from the date of abduction. Upon this request, the Central Authority will contact the Central Authority in the country where the child has been removed to. This, in order to quickly return the child to its habitual place of residence. It is advisable, however, that the parent also notifies the police, filing an official complaint for abduction.

Sadly, abductions also happen in countries that are not signatory parties to the Convention. As awareness on such cases has grown internationally, case law catches up with reality. Even when a child has been held in a country that is not a signatory to the Convention against the will of the other custodian parent, quite often they manage to negotiate the return of the child via diplomatic channels. Needless to say, but good to reiterate: countries that are not signatories to the Convention are under no obligation to co-operate.

Is the Central Authority to lose its monopoly position in the near future?

The Eerste Kamer (Dutch Senate) has received a draft law asking to end the monopoly position of the Central Authority in cases of international child abduction. The custodial parent whose child has been abducted might soon be able to take action by hiring a specialised lawyer, should the draft law be passed. This would hopefully speed up proceedings, as well as widening the spectrum of available legal tools.

The mere thought of having to deal with child abduction is harrowing. Prevention is always better than having to resort to cure. Abduction might be prevented by hiding the children’s passports, keeping the channels of communication with the inlaws open or informing the police. It is essential that the parents’ problems remain negotiable; cross-border mediation has prooved to be succesful.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if your child has been abducted, if you are contemplating the abduction of your child or if you are aware of a situation where child abductions occur. Our lawyers have extensive expertise in dealing with cases of international child abduction and are happy to assist you.

 

Forced contact between parent and child

What do you do if after a divorce you, as a child, want to remain in contact with one of your parents, but your parent does not want to stay in contact with you?

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Relocation after divorce: are the children coming or not?

Is a divorced parent permitted to relocate with his or her child without the consent of the other parent? The answer to this question largely depends on the facts and circumstances of the case in question.

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Proof of cohabitation and the duty to pay maintenance: it remains difficult!

It remains a frustrating situation when you are almost positive that your ex-partner is cohabiting but cannot actually prove it. Then you must continue to pay maintenance (alimony). Anyone can imagine that this frustration is hard to swallow.

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No residual jurisdiction under Brussels II for divorcing Dutch nationals

The Brussels Regulation, generally known as Brussels II bis, was originally introduced in March 2000. One laudable intention was to provide the same jurisdictional basis for divorce and similar marital proceedings across the whole of the EU, comprising more than 500 million citizens. The Dutch Parliament, however, has not embraced the jurisdictional ground of additional, national jurisdiction.

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Powers of the Dutch family court with regard to Dutch children abroad

A previous blog post discussed the obstacles encountered by Dutch nationals living abroad wishing to arrange their divorce in the Netherlands. In principle, filing for divorce in the Netherlands when abroad is only possible when both spouses have Dutch nationality.

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Developments in international marital property law

In which country can international couples apply for divorce and which law applies? When filing for divorce, couples are often confronted with surprises, especially when it comes to the division of property.

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Relocating with children following the breakdown of a relationship

As society becomes increasingly international, more and more people are forming international relationships. This comes with the added risk that, following a divorce, one of the parents will want to return to his or her home country. Also here in the Netherlands, we are dealing with a growing number of relocation cases, often due to people finding a new love in another part of the country.

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Your digital legacy

Have you ever wondered what happens to your digital legacy when you die? Think of all your online accounts and domain names, Facebook and Twitter accounts. And what about your e-mail account or online shopping credit? And who tells your online friends? How do relatives gain access to your accounts if they don’t know of their existence or passwords?

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Benefits of talking to a divorce specialist

Friday 12 September 2014 is the Day of Divorce in the Netherlands, organised by the Association of Family Lawyers and Divorce Mediators (vFAS). Susan Meijler from GMW lawyers in The Hague explains how people can benefit from a free informal talk with a divorce specialist.

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Using DNA to prove a hereditary right

It is possible that when a father has passed away and his estate has already been divided, someone comes forward claiming to be his son or daughter. Apparently, the deceased fathered this child without anyone (possibly not even the deceased himself) knowing about his or her existence.

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Maintenance payments by entrepreneurs: why we’re getting it wrong

When a married couple gets a divorce, in most cases one of the spouses ends up paying the ex-spouse maintenance. Individuals who are entrepreneurs often end up paying their ex-spouse the wrong amount of maintenance. This is due to cash flows being disregarded or not given sufficient consideration. So how SHOULD the courts calculate maintenance?

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Divorce in the Netherlands and ties with Scotland

In recent years, family lawyers at GMW lawyers have often dealt with Scottish divorce law, as their clients have Scottish nationality, got married in Scotland, and came to the Netherlands for work.

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When does Dutch law apply to divorce (part 2)?

Part 1 of this series addressed the application of the Dutch Matrimonial Property Law on the division or settlement of property and assets between spouses in international divorce. This is of special interest for expats in divorce. In part 2 we are going to focus on the effect of the law on maintenance.

Does Dutch law apply to maintenance?

The law applicable to maintenance can be different from the law that applies to the Matrimonial Property Regime.

Child maintenance

Based on The Hague Protocol 2007, the law of the usual country of residence of the person entitled to receiving maintenance is applicable for determining child maintenance. If a Dutch judge receives such a request and the children live in the Netherlands,  the Court will determine child maintenance according to Dutch law.

Spousal maintenance

Based on the protocol mentioned above, in the case of spousal maintenance, the law of the usual country of residence of the person entitled to receiving maintenance applies. There is, however, one exception. If the person obliged to pay spousal maintenance contests this law and the marriage has a closer tie to another country, then that law applies.

The protocol primarily considered the last country in which the parties had a common residence. Numerous factors play a role, such as the location where the marriage took place. Other factors are the length of residence of the spouses in the different countries, their nationality, etc. This possibility to exception can lead to lengthy discussions in international divorce. This holds especially for expats that often have a closer tie to the country of their common nationality.

Be well informed when it comes to maintenance payments. The differences between countries are enormous, especially where spousal maintenance is concerned. The length of the maintenance obligation differs, as well as the amount. In Norway, for example, spousal maintenance does not exist.

Contact

If you are an expat living in the Netherlands and you are involved in an international divorce, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice on how to find the best solution.

 

When does Dutch law apply to divorce (part 1)?

If you have moved to the Netherlands, you may be in for some surprises when filing for divorce. For instance, it may turn out that you are married in community of property. Couples often are not aware of this until one of them files for divorce.

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Website marital property law in the European Union

When it comes to the settlement of marital property, in the case of divorce, death, inheritance and gifts, it is not uncommon for foreign law to apply.

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Spousal alimony: when the receiving ex moves in with a new partner

Many of those paying their ex-spouse maintenance (alimony) hope their obligation to do so will stop, once their ex moves in with a new partner. However, things are not as simple as that.

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Comparative law study: spousal maintenance part 1

In the English magazine ‘Family Law Journal’ (September 2012 no. 119), lawyers from various states compare and contrast the approach to spousal maintenance (alimony). These were Julian Bremner from Rayden Solicitors, England, Kate Mooney from Derwent &Tamar Chambers, Tasmania, and Marjet van Yperen-Groenleer  from GMW lawyers (Legal Expat Desk), the Netherlands. Together, these lawyers compare the legal systems of England and Wales, the Netherlands and Australia.

There are major differences and the financial implications can be quite substantial. Therefore, for expats living in the Netherlands considering to file for divorce, it is advisable to first examine in which country they should do so. This could be either their home country or the Netherlands.

England, Wales and the Netherlands 

In this first analysis, the focus lies on the differences and similarities between England, Wales and the Netherlands. Click on the link for the analysis: comparative law study spousal maintenance. 

Also, LED lawyer Marjet Groenleer has previously blogged about this subject in ‘International divorce: in which country should proceedings be conducted?’.

 

Update of this article: November 2017.