Divorce FAQ2020-06-17T14:29:25+02:00

Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce

Are false accusations punishable?2020-06-19T21:13:04+02:00

A false accusation is punishable under art. 188 of the Dutch Criminal Code. However, filing a complaing about it with the police hardly ever leads to a conviction, because it is difficult to proof that the suspect knew that the allegations were false.

But you can try to stop the perpatrator by filing a criminial complaint for dafamation or by starting a civil procedure.

Read our blog about false accusations in family lawsuits.

Do we need a parenting plan?2020-05-31T21:48:52+02:00

Dutch law requires that in the case of minor children (younger than eighteen), the requesting party must submit a parenting plan to the court. The plan must be signed by both parties.

Sometimes, however, the parents do not reach an agreement or communication about this is not possible at all. In that case, the requesting party must explain the lack of a parenting plan to the court. The requesting party may also choose to submit his or her proposed draft version of the parental plan to the court.

How do I get a divorce?2020-05-31T20:44:35+02:00

One or both of the spouces file a request to the court, in which you ask for a court decision on all relevant issues, such as alimony, division of assets and pensions. You need a lawyer to file this for you. The application for divorce must be served on the other party by a bailiff.

When there are children involved, a parenting plan is required by law. The court will ask the other party to respond and will discuss the positions of the parties during a hearing in court. When parties have signed a divorce agreemente (and parenting plan) a hearing in court won’t be necessary.

How soon can we be divorced?2020-05-31T21:14:36+02:00

If you have a divorce agreement (and if necessary a parenting plan), it is a matter of weeks. The court will issue an order without first discussing the case at a hearing.

If there is no agreement the proceedings will take considerably longer. After the application for divorce has been filed, the other spouse is given six weeks to lodge a defence. This period may be extended by 4 weeks. After submitting the defence, the court invites the parties to try to reach an agreement on the consequences of the divorce with the help of a mediator. If there is no interest in doing so or if the mediation fails, the court will set a date for a hearing. It often takes several months before your case is dealt with during a court hearing. In most cases, the court will pronounce the divorce within four weeks after the hearing and, if requested, decide on the legal consequences of the divorce (e.g. on maintenance or the division of assets). The court might also pronounce the divorce in the first court order, and continue the procedure to deal with one or more other issues. This first court order can be used to registre the divorce at the municipality, which makes the divorce final.

Sometimes it is necessary to get a quick, temporary measure, for example about the use of the home or the distribution of care for the children or the alimony. You can start an injuction procedure, to ask for proliminary provisions. You can do this during or immediately prior to the divorce procedure. In these proceedings, a session date is usually set within a few weeks after the petition has been submitted. The court will rule two weeks after the hearing. The proliminary decisions are valid until the divorce is final (when the divorce decision is registered at the municipality).

The time safed makes it worthwile to make a serious effort to reach an agreement with the other party. We will be happy to assist. Even if you are doing the negotiations yourself, or if you are talking with a mediatior, we can assist. We can explain the legal framework, make calculations and indicate what a desired or acceptable outcome of the mediation will be.

 

What if I do not want to divorce?2020-05-31T20:56:24+02:00

In the Netherlands, you cannot prevent your spouce from getting a divorce, if that’s what he or she wants. The court will grant the request to get a divorce, and will not require any specific reason for the divorce. One only has to say that the marriage has been permanently disrupted. However you might see reasons to delay the process. There are a few ways to do so. During the procedure, you can ask the court for more time to prepare your responce. Once the court has issued an order, you can choose to wait three months. It is only after these three months that the divorce decree can be registered with the municipality, which makes the divorce final.

 

When is the divorce final?2020-05-31T21:39:48+02:00

The divorce is not final until the divorce decree has been registered with the municipality where  you got married. Registration can take place after three months from the date of the divorce decree. Afther those three months, you first need to ask the court for a statement that no one appealed the divorce itself. (There might be an appeal from one or both parties against the other decisions.) If both parties agree in writing, the decision can also be registered earlier.

Sometimes the first order only pronounces the divorce and the other issues are stayed. In that case, information may still be exchanged on those subjects prior to the session. And they can be discussed during the session.

You probalby agree with the divorce itself. You can appeal against the other decisions in the court decision. For example, the decision about alimony, or about the children. But then the divorce itself can be final afther three months since the day when the decision was taken. If you appeal, the court’s decisions on alimony, distribution, children etc. are already valid and enforceable. Therefore, at or after lodging an appeal, the court may be asked to suspend the enforceability of the decision.

If you do not registrere the divorce at the right municipality afther six months after this three months period, it becomes invalid. In that case you have to start the divorce procedure again.

Will I pay less alimony if I take care of the children for more days?2020-06-05T19:58:52+02:00

Yes. In the Netherlands this is called ‘care discount’. This discount is based on the average number of days per week (including holidays) that you care of the children. The idea behind it is that on those days the parent who pays the fixed costs (school, sports, clothing etc.) for the child does not incur any costs for the daily things like food.

If you care for the children less than 1 day a week: 5%.
At an average of 1 day per week: 15
At an average of 2 days a week: 25
At an average of 3 days a week: 35

The minimum is 5 %, because parents have a right and an obligation towards each other and towards the child to ensure that there is contact, and so the parent could have incurred at least that cost.

Exceptions are of course possible. For example, if the parent with a care arrangement or visitation arrangement does not fulfil his or her obligation to contact the child. In that case, the court could assume a 0% care discount.

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