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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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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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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 Child Abduction

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

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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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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.

 

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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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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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. 

Tax aspects in international divorce

It is important for one to be familiar with the tax aspects of an international divorce when filing for divorce. Thus, it is advisable to seek tax advice during (international) divorce proceedings.

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Pension given low priority in international divorce cases

In almost all divorce cases, the division of retirement pension is one of the last things married couples think about, particularly in the case of international divorces where the spouses’ priorities lie elsewhere.

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International divorce: cross-border legal cooperation

GMW lawyers and the Legal Expat Desk serve clients across the globe. Cross-border cooperation in the practice of law is reflected in the growing number of divorce cases with an international dimension. GMW lawyers represents expats who, for example, want to arrange their divorce in the Netherlands, or who are forced to do so by their spouse.

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Can a Dutch couple abroad always get a divorce in the Netherlands?

Previous blog posts (here and here) mainly focused on whether foreign nationals living in the Netherlands can file for divorce in the Netherlands. This blog post will look at Dutch nationals living abroad and competency of the Dutch court.

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International divorce: in which country should proceedings be conducted?

Marriages can have an international dimension, due to e.g. nationality or place of residence. The question then arises where divorce proceedings should be conducted.

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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.

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Changes in international family law

In the EU, most matters of international family law are regulated by the European Commission. The Commission draws upon the Hague Conference on International Private Law. Recently, legislative efforts in Brussels and The Hague have resulted in three significant changes. These changes will reshape some core aspects of international family law.

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Marital community of property Part 3 – Compensation rights

As of 1 January 2012, a legislative proposal with new provisions on the general community of property will take effect. (See Part 1 and Part 2  of this series.) This article will elaborate on the ways which couples filing for divorce will be affected under the new provisions concerning compensation rights.

Compensation rights

A spouse can make a claim for compensation whenever he/she invests his/her ‘own’ money in a jointly owned asset. Couples married under the matrimonial regime of community of goods and property may still have access to e.g. their inheritances or gifts, under the condition that these are covered by an exemption clause.

Let us take, for example, a couple that marries under the regime of community of property. The husband inherited € 50,000 under an exemption clause and invests it in the renovation of the matrimonial home. This house, however, falls under the community of property and goods. Should the couple decide to file for divorce, the husband could claim for compensation, since he has invested his ‘own’ money to raise the value of the matrimonial home. Therefore, he is entitled to € 50.000.

The current situation

Under the current legislation, the husband has a nominal right to claim the € 50,000 invested in the matrimonial home. Increased or decreased value of the house is not taken into account.

The future situation

After 1 January 2012, things will change insofar as the husband will be able to claim the invested sum, plus the increased value or minus the decreased value that occurred due to his investment.  The moment in time, so when one invested the money, is irrelevant.

Do you need advice about your rights under the marital community of property? Contact us – we’ll be glad to help you.

Divorce and exclusion clauses under Dutch law: inheritances

There is no global consensus as how to best divide the assets of divorcing couples. Thus, there are sharp differences between the divorce laws across countries. Expats in the Netherlands are often in for a big surprise when they discover they have to share their inheritances with their (former) spouse.

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Marital community of property – Part 1

This post is part 1 of a series of 3 articles on marital community of property

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Marital community of property Part 2 – Reference dates

On 1 January 2012, several provisional changes were made to the marital community of property regime. What does this mean for divorcing couples? In order to shed some light on the practicalities, this article will elaborate on changes made with regards to reference dates.

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