Here are a few tips and tricks for getting a divorce in The Netherlands.
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One lawyer or two?
Ok, so you have decided to separate, so what do you do now?
The most cost effective option is to find a lawyer to help you arrange your divorce settlement by mutual agreement. If you have already broadly agreed how you want to arrange the divorce and are still on relatively good terms, then this is the way to go. Your lawyer will review your arrangements to see if there are any problems and will lodge a joint divorce petition.
If you have strong disagreements on some issues, you do not trust your spouse or your spouse tends to dominate discussions and railroad decisions then it is often better to engage your own lawyer to represent you. In many cases a settlement is negotiated between parties’ lawyers before the case comes to court.
When do we choose mediation over a divorce lawyer?
Mediation (ADR) can be a very effective tool in settling a divorce. The mediation process is aimed at dispute resolution. The mediator is impartial and aims to create an atmosphere in which parties can come to an amicable settlement regarding their divorce in spite of their differences. Important aspects of this process are that both parties engage voluntarily in the process and that all matters discussed between parties are strictly confidential (even if the mediation were to break down).
Mediation requires a basic amount of trust between parties and a willingness to settle differences. If that is not possible, then mediation is not for you.
Dutch Divorce Lawyer works with a professional divorce mediator and would be happy to inform you on your options.
Now is the time to find that box containing your prenup and other important papers. Collect as much financial information as you can and, if possible, create a list or spreadsheet of all assets and debts.
Request recent bank statements and the current balances of policies and investments, if you do not have them available.
You may also need to request pension statements and recent account statements for your mortgage and any debts.
Check your visa status
If you have travelled to the Netherlands as a spouse without your own work permit, you may need to review your visa status. In some cases you have a duty to report the divorce to the immigration authorities.
Get tax advice
If you have assets in different countries or there are significant assets to be divided, we advise you to check the tax consequences of any proposed settlement with an independent tax adviser.
Received a divorce petition?
Divorce papers have to be served by a bailiff and must be answered within a fixed term after the papers have been served. If you have a fixed address in another country, the papers will be served by a local process server and you will have three months to respond. If you live in The Netherlands, then you only have six weeks to respond.
In both cases, it is important to retain a lawyer to defend your interests as soon as possible. If you do not lodge a defence, then the petition will be granted as requested, which may have serious consequences.
Any other questions? Please contact us.