International Family Law

– Do you or your partner have a foreign nationality?
– Did you marry abroad?
– Did you enter into a registered partnership abroad?
– Do you or your partner live abroad?
– Do you or your partner own property abroad?

More and more citizens move across national borders and this leads to an increased number of international couples or couples with an international dimension: spouses of different nationalities, couples living in a state of which they are not nationals, owning assets in different states and sometimes they marry or divorce in a country other than the one of their origin. The problem is that it is very difficult for international couples to know which courts have jurisdiction, and which laws are applicable to their personal situation and the situation of their property. International FamilyLaw Advice answers your legal questions. In matters of cohabitation, marriage (including same sex marriages) and registered or civil partnerships we advise on jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of judicial decisions. If foreign law is applicable we also advise on the content of that law.

Cohabitation/marriage/registered partnership

Questions that may arise are:
– Is your (religious) marriage recognised in the Netherlands?
– Do the Dutch authorities recognise your civil partnership?
– Is your Dutch same-sex marriage or registered partnership recognised abroad?

Each country has its own rules regarding people who live together (cohabit), marry or enter into a registered partnership. Thus, only civil marriages are legally recognised in the Netherlands. The civil marriage takes place at a Registry Office (Burgerlijke Stand) and is performed by a Registrar of Marriages (Ambtenaar van de Burgerlijke Stand). A religious ceremony may follow the civil event, but this is optional. It has no legal status and may only be held after the civil ceremony has taken place. This is different in other countries where sometimes the only possible way to get married is through a religious marriage.The question then arises if this religious marriage is valid in the Netherlands. Conversely, in the Netherlands it is possible to conclude same-sex marriages and registered partnerships.  These relations are not always recognised in other countries.

International FamilyLaw Advice examines if your marriage or registered partnership is legally valid in the Netherlands and/or abroad. Furthermore we provide information about  the legal consequences of cohabitation, marriage or a registered partnership in an international context.

Cohabitation property regime/matrimonial property regime/registered partnership property regime

Questions that may arise:
– Does the fact that you cohabit have legal consequences in the Netherlands or abroad?
– Is Dutch or foreign law applicable on your matrimonial property regime?
– Which law is applicable on your property regime in case of a registered partnership?

In many countries the fact that you cohabit, are married or have entered into a registered partnership has consequences for the financial position of the partners. Thus under the Dutch statutory regime all assets and debts, which you and your spouse or registered partner have, are communal. This is known as “community of property”. If the marriage/registered partnership ends by divorce or death of one of the partners, the communal property is divided into equal shares. The only way you can depart from the statutory system is by a marriage contract (or (pre)nuptial agreement). However in most other countries marriage or registered partnerships have no such far-reaching property consequences. Lots of countries have a system under which each of the partners retains exclusive ownership of his property. In such cases the partners have no claim to the other’s property. In some of these countries it is possible to depart from the statutory regime by drawing up a marriage contract. The extent to which this is possible is laid down in the law of each country.

International FamilyLaw Advice informs you on the property consequences of your relation. We research if Dutch or foreign law governs your property regime. If needed we can also advise you on the content of Dutch or foreign law.

Cohabitation/(pre)nuptial / and registered partnership agreements

Questions that may come forward:
– Are foreign (pre)nuptial agreements recognised in the Netherlands?
– Are Dutch (pre)nuptial agreements recognised abroad?
– Which law is applicable on your agreement?
– Is it possible to choose the applicable law?

In most countries partners can regulate the financial and proprietary consequences of their relationship and what should happen to their income and assets in the event of the breakdown of their relationship in a so called cohabitation, nuptial or registered partnership agreement. However these agreements are not automatically binding abroad. You will have to check if your agreement is recognised according to the rules of international law of that particular country.

International FamilyLaw Advice examines if your cohabitation agreement, nuptial agreement/ marriage contract or your registered partnership agreement is valid in the Netherlands and/or abroad.

Breaking up/divorce 

If you have a relationship with international aspects because your live abroad or you each have a different nationality and you contemplate a divorce or a dissolution of your registered partnership there is a multitude of legal questions to be answered, such as:

– The jurisdictional rules.Will the courts in the target jurisdiction accept the anticipated divorce case, including all financial and child custody issues?
– The applicable law. Which law is applicable on your divorce?
– The recognition of your divorce. Will your divorce be recognised abroad?
– Will your foreign divorce be recognised in the Netherlands?

The same questions may be posed regarding the dissolution of a registered partnership. International FamilyLaw Advice provides an answer on your legal questions based on your particular situation.

Alimony/spousal maintenance

Frequently asked questions about this subject are:
– Can a foreign judicial decision on alimony be executed in the Netherlands?
– Can  a Dutch alimony decision be executed abroad?
– Does the Dutch court have jurisdiction in your alimony case?

If you have any questions about the above mentioned subjects, please contact us. We like to inform you about your legal position.