The Hague

Registered partnership: what you need to know

Lately, there has been a steep rise in registered partnerships, especially when both partners are 40-plus. This rise reflects the assumption that dissolving a registered partnership is easier than getting a divorce. In principle this is correct; however, think twice when there are children involved.

Men, watch out!

Legally speaking, there are not that many differences between a marriage and a registered partnership. The main difference is that a baby born into a marriage is automatically recognised as being the child of the husband, while a child born within a registered partnership has only one parent by law: the mother. This holds true for both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Thus, heterosexual couples with a registered partnership can both become parents only after the father recognises the child as his own. Guardianship/custody of a child born into a registered partnership can be exercised by the father only after a formal recognition of the child has taken place. Without such a formal recognition, in the case of a break-up of the relationship, the father will have no further say in any relevant matter of his child’s future life, such as education, medical interventions, place of residence, etc.

Termination of a registered partnership – is it really that easy?

Before being able to terminate their relationship, couples living as registered partners with (a) child(ren) must agree on a parenting plan. This is also the case for cohabiting and married parents. Their partnership will be dissolved by a judge after the parents jointly file a parenting plan. With this, they are to state their intentions on visitation, care and custody of the child. Aided by one or more lawyers or notaries, a childless registered partnership can be dissolved without the intervention of a judge by signing a joint declaration. By law, a registered partnership allows for partner alimony, whilst cohabitation does not.

Wise last words

From all of the above one can conclude that, unless a couple decides not to have children together, there is little reason to opt for a registered partnership.

Do you need advice on your legal rights regarding a registered partnership? Contact us – we’ll be glad to help.



Marjet Groenleer - Expat lawyer (family law)

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.