In the period between separation and your actual divorce, you may have to take some interim measures to protect your interests. Dutch law provides for special injunction proceedings before your actual divorce. For example, you can request assets to be frozen or ask for temporary maintenance. These injunctions before divorce last for the duration of the divorce proceedings.
Temporary court orders during divorce
The spouses can apply for:
- Exclusive use of the marital home, banning the other spouse from entering the home for the duration;
- The release of necessary household goods for themselves and/ or their children;
- Temporary custody of the children;
- Interim visitation rights;
- Temporary maintenance.
The order is only valid for the duration of the divorce. Any decision is not binding in the eventual divorce. For example, the court may award a higher amount of temporary maintenance than when the court has fully examined all the facts in the divorce proceedings.
An injunction can be matched by a counter-injunction. For example, the mother wants temporary custody and maintenance for herself and the children. The father can apply for a temporary visitation order in the same procedure.
An actual divorce petition must follow the injunction proceedings or the measures become void.
In principle, only the injunctions summed up above are possible during the divorce proceedings.
Marital attachment/ asset freezing
If you suspect that your spouse is transferring assets out of the jurisdiction or trying to hide assets, Dutch law allows for freezing orders. This injunction freezes certain assets for the duration of the divorce. Again a divorce petition must be submitted within 14 days of the injunction being granted.
Conversely, if you have brought divorce proceedings in another jurisdiction and have grounds to believe that assets are being transferred via The Netherlands and out of control of the jurisdiction you are divorcing in, you can apply for a marital attachment to freeze these assets. The freezing order will cease when a final judgement is obtained in the divorce. You do not need to bring further proceedings in The Netherlands, as there is already a divorce ongoing in another jurisdiction.
You need to consider carefully before applying for a freezing order or other injunctions before divorce. If you are not awarded a share in the assets or no wrongdoing is proven, then you may be liable for damages. On the other hand, obtaining a freezing order may force your spouse into negotiating a settlement rather than lose the assets all together.
If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact us.