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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. Get answers to the top 10 most frequently asked questions about divorce for expats living in the Netherlands.

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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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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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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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International Child Abduction

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

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Affairs and other grounds for divorce

Many people still believe that the courts are interested in the grounds for divorce. This is a common misconception because the truth is, the courts do not care about the reasons for divorce.

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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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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.

 

Forced contact between parent and child

What do you do if after a divorce you, as a child, want to remain in contact with one of your parents, but your parent does not want to stay in contact with you?

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Proof of cohabitation and the duty to pay maintenance: it remains difficult!

It remains a frustrating situation when you are almost positive that your ex-partner is cohabiting but cannot actually prove it. Then you must continue to pay maintenance (alimony). Anyone can imagine that this frustration is hard to swallow.

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Benefits of talking to a divorce specialist

Friday 12 September 2014 is the Day of Divorce in the Netherlands, organised by the Association of Family Lawyers and Divorce Mediators (vFAS). Susan Meijler from GMW lawyers in The Hague explains how people can benefit from a free informal talk with a divorce specialist.

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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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