As a parent you want to keep up a meaningful and nurturing relationship with your children after a divorce. But what if your ex-partner constantly refuses to give you consent to go on holidays with your children? Or refuses to give you their passports so you can visit your family?
This can be particularly difficult if you no longer live in the same country as your ex-spouse, as it effectively blocks you from contact with your children. Dutch law obliges parents to encourage a relationship with the other parent after divorce. However, in practice, if the parent the children live with blocks holidays, then it can be very difficult to keep up a meaningful relationship.
In our experience, if the other parent is unreasonably blocking contact or foreign holidays with the childen by withholding their passports or refusing permission to travel, then it is important to take action at an early stage. You can bring injunction proceedings before the Dutch courts requesting permission to take your children on holidays. The courts can also order the other parent to release their passports.
An often heard defence by parents refusing permission is that the other parent is of foreign nationality and may not bring back the child from visiting their country of origin. A child has the right to know about their parent’s heritage and therefore their own. They also have the right to family life with their wider family (such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins). Therefore, this argument is often dismissed by the courts.
The judge will also consider whether the proposed destination is safe for children to travel to. If the Dutch government has given negative travel advice for that destination, then permission may be refused. However, not all travel advice is for a whole country and certain regions may be perfectly safe to travel to.
It is important plan ahead if you want to go on holiday with your children. We advise sending your request for permission in writing to your ex-spouse up to three months in advance (depending on the destination) and setting a reasonable term of two weeks to react to your request. The Dutch government has a special permission form available to download here.
If you receive no answer or a refusal, you need to instruct a lawyer to bring proceedings, otherwise you may not get a court date before the holidays commence. The district court in Rotterdam now sets special dates in July and August for hearing passport and holiday cases. Even still, capacity to hear proceedings at short notice is limited.
If permission is refused or your receive no answer, you need to instruct a lawyer to bring proceedings as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may not get a court date before the holidays commence. The district court in Rotterdam now sets special dates in July and August for hearing passport and holiday cases. Even still, capacity to hear proceedings at short notice is limited.
We advise against taking the children on holiday without consent. Dutch customs actively requests consent forms from parents travelling alone. You may even find yourself accused of child kidnapping!
At Dutch Divorce Lawyer, we have dealt with many custody cases involving the right to travel and we would be happy to discuss options on taking holidays with children after divorce with you. Please feel free to contact us for further information below.