If you and your partner are still on speaking terms and you want a quick divorce, then the Dutch joint divorce procedure may be perfect for you. We call it a fast track divorce.
You can be divorced in as little as six to eight weeks with no waiting period or court hearing. All that is required is that at least one of the spouses is registered as living in The Netherlands at the time of the divorce petition. If both parties have Dutch nationality, then the divorce can also be brought in The Netherlands, even if both spouses are living elsewhere.
How does a fast track divorce work?
First of all, you have to determine if you can agree on an amicable settlement together. It helps keep costs low if you can decide issues together. You can either choose a joint divorce lawyer or a mediator to guide you through the process together. You may also each seek separate legal advice to negotiate a divorce agreement (also known as a collaborative divorce).
The divorce settlement typically covers:
- Future care for children (if applicable);
- Allocation of marital home(s);
- Division of marital property;
- Settlement of debts;
Once you have agreed on all points, a divorce agreement will be drawn up. If you have minor children a separate parenting plan must also be drawn up. The courts will not process the divorce without a full parenting plan. The parenting plan contains the care and financial arrangements for your children.
The Dutch courts do not require the divorce agreement to be in Dutch, so this can be drawn up in English. The agreement is a part of the divorce petition and will be ratified by the court. This means that the agreement is not only legally binding, but can be enforced in The Netherlands without a further court order being necessary.
The divorce proceedings
The divorce petition will state irreconcilable differences as the grounds for divorce. You do not need to lay blame on either spouse or clarify what the irreconcilable differences are.
Once the divorce petition has been submitted, it will usually take a maximum of three to four weeks for the divorce decree to be granted. However, the decree itself is not the official divorce! Your lawyer will request you to sign a waiver permitting the divorce to be registered before the appeal term has ended. The divorce is then registered in the marriage register of the municipality you were married in (or in the case of a marriage abroad, the foreign marriage register in The Hague). Only upon registration is the divorce final.
If you have a Dutch social security number and were married in The Netherlands, then the formal documents needed for the divorce will be minimal. Your lawyer can request the necessary documents for you. However, if you were married abroad and the marriage was not registered in The Netherlands, you will need to provide an official excerpt of your marriage certificate in either English, German, French or Spanish for the divorce petition.
If you have minor children, then excerpts of their birth certificates will also be necessary. All documents submitted to the court must be no more than three months old.
Please note that you may need to register the divorce in your country of residence. Not all countries outside the EU automatically recognise a Dutch divorce decree. You should always seek local legal advice on these matters.
Super fast track divorce
Should you choose one of our Dutch Divorce Lawyers to handle your divorce, we can also accommodate parties that are only in The Netherlands for a short stay by scheduling a number of meetings on consecutive days to complete the negotiations and close the divorce agreement. Once the divorce papers have been filed, you do not need to return to The Netherlands for any formalities. The final divorce papers can be handled by mail.