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.