District court of Oost-Brabant

In this case, the woman asked the court in summary proceedings for the right of use of the house and provisional entrustment of the children in stead of in a divorce procedure. 

The parties were married in 2017 and lived together with their children of two and three years old. The wife is 27 weeks pregnant from the third.  Recently, the mayor has imposed a house ban on the husband for the duration of 10 days, until 3 March 2020. The reason for this was that the man would have behaved intimidating, violent and jealous. On 12 April 2020, the woman left the house because she no longer felt safe there. The woman has been staying with her parents ever since with the children. The woman states that she can no longer stay with her parents and that there is an emergency situation. She asks the court for exclusive use of the house without a divorce.

In summary proceedings?

The husband argues that the woman should be declared inadmissible, because she has to make her claims in a preliminary relief chamber of the court’s family chamber. So in a preliminary relief proceeding prior to or at the same time as divorce proceedings.
Indeed, it is common practice in divorce proceedings to decide on the division of marital property and the use of the marital dwelling in the period up to and shortly after the divorce, and, if necessary, to seek a decision on the provisional use of the marital home in an a preliminary relief proceeding.

The court’s decision

The court considers that the parties still want to give their marriage a chance and that there is no question of divorce proceedings and that the woman argues that there is an emergency situation. The woman is therefore admissible in her claims.
The court is of the opinion that the interests of the wife and the children upon return to the home outweigh the interests of the husband to be able to continue living in the home. The court thinks the woman can indeed ask for exclusive use of the house without a divorce procedure.

The court therefore decided that the woman’s request will be granted for a period of 6 weeks. The court also decided that if necessary, the decision can be enforced with the help of the police. Parties can use these 6 weeks to get therapy or counseling. If this does not succeed, the woman can request provisional measures on the basis of art. 822, connected to a divorce procedure.

What does this means for other spouses?

If there is an emergency situation, summary proceedings can offer a quicker solution than interim relief in the context of divorce proceedings. Also when the decision to divorce has not yet been taken, summary proceedings can be a solution.