It seems like there is no end to the continual stream of changes in national and international family law, particularly developments in international divorce. In one such development, the Community of Property Act came into force on 1 January 2012.
Central Authority loses monopoly position
In addition, with this act the Central Authority lost its monopoly position in child abduction cases. The new child maintenance regulations and the new Child Protection Convention came into force for ‘new’ disputes a short while ago (Changes in international family law).
Granting of divorce on basis of Dutch law
The most significant change is the implementation of Book 10 Art 56 of the Dutch Civil Code. This article states that if a couple files for divorce in the Netherlands, the question of granting divorce depends on Dutch law. This is, unless the parties have agreed otherwise.
In the past, a so-called three-stage rocket was in force. The parties’ nationality and habitual residence were major factors in determining the applicable law. From now on, however, Dutch law will apply to divorce petitions. This is, even when the spouses hold different nationalities.
Other considerations to keep in mind
Apart from a few minor changes, the regulations on family law will basically remain the same. These regulations have been incorporated into one single legal code instead of forming a tangle of different minor laws.
However, the main consideration is that EU regulations and international treaties will continue to have priority over the Dutch Civil Code. If an issue is provided for in a regulation or treaty, Book 10 of the Civil Code will not apply.
Do you need advice on the current divorce laws in the Netherlands and what they mean to you? Please contact us – we’ll be glad to help.
Marjet Groenleer is an attorney-at-law and associate partner at GMW lawyers in The Hague. She has been active in family law for more than 15 years, focused on on (international) divorces. Marjet is a trained divorce mediator with the vFAS (Dutch Association of Family mediators and lawyers).
Marjet has a particular interest and a profound knowledge of the international aspects of family law. She is an expert in dealing with complex financial and multi-jurisdictional cases of an international family breakdown. Because of her experience and previous jobs, she is familiar with several foreign legal systems. A great number of her clients are expats. She understands the needs of expats working for the various international organisations and companies based in The Netherlands, specifically in the area of The Hague (lsuch as EPO, Estec, OPCW, NATO, the tribunals, ICC, Shell, etc.)
Marjet worked as a lecturer in International Civil Law for several years and at the Court of Appeals in The Hague in the family law sector. Today, she is a deputy judge in the Court of Appeals in Amsterdam. Marjet publishes regularly in professional journals and keeps you informed of the various complex aspects of (international) divorces with her weblogs.