Living in The Hague

More recent developments in international family law

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.