From American dream to international divorce

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Auteur: Carla Simmelink

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Remco moved to America several years ago for work, he had the opportunity to pursue his dream there, and in consultation with his wife Annelies he left for a few years. Good arrangements have been made: Remco and Annelies will visit each other regularly. This is important not only for the partners but also for their son Benjamin. Benjamin was only 2.5 years old when his father moved temporarily.

From American dream to international divorce


Remco moved to America several years ago for work, he had the opportunity to pursue his dream there, and in consultation with his wife Annelies he left for a few years. Good arrangements have been made: Remco and Annelies will visit each other regularly. This is important not only for the partners but also for their son Benjamin. Benjamin was only 2.5 years old when his father moved temporarily.

Despite all the good plans and agreements, life turns out differently than planned. Remco falls in love with American Chloé and wants to move on with her. He wants a divorce from Annelies, but due to coronagraphs it is not possible to travel to the Netherlands, he cannot leave America at that time. Because of this, he has also not been able to see Benjamin for some time; son and father miss each other terribly. This is when he approaches our office asking how best to handle the divorce in this situation.

Simmelink lawyers’ help in unilateral divorce case

Because Remco and Anneliesboth have Dutch nationality, the divorce can be filed in the Netherlands. On behalf of Remco, we are filing for divorce with ancillary provisions in the Netherlands. This includes asking the judge to rule on other matters as well, in this case the arrangement around Benjamin’s custody.

The announcement that Remco wants a divorce hits Annelies hard. According to her, the situation changes when Remco simply moves back to Holland and comes to live with her and Benjamin. She therefore does not want to cooperate in a divorce and enters a defense. Since she needs a lawyer for this, Annelies also hires a lawyer.

In Dutch law, divorce comes about when one of the parties wants it. So Annelies cannot stop the divorce. However, there must be lasting disruption of the marriage. By this is meant that there is no longer a chance for the relationship to recover.

Annelies believes that she alone should have authority over Benjamin. She blames Remco for not looking out for their son. According to Remco, this is somewhat different, it is indeed impossible to leave America, he tries to have daily contact with Benjamin via video link. Annelies, however, stops this. She asks the judge not to give Remco access to Benjamin.

Dutch law requires that a parenting plan be drawn up at the time of divorce. This plan defines who the children will live with, how they will have access to the other parent, what the financial contribution will be and who will have custody of the children. In the absence of such a plan, the court may decide not to consider the divorce. Because Annelies and Remco fail to agree on Benjamin, no such plan comes to pass. This can cause problems in divorce.

The judge makes an extraordinary decision: he sees that Remco and Annelies will fail to make arrangements for Benjamin. This will not be changed by third-party mediation. For this reason, he decides to pronounce the divorce. The court follows the law, which is that both parents retain custody of a minor child. He sees no disadvantages for Benjamin if the parents keep it together. Annelies, according to the judge, failed sufficiently to show that it would not be good for Benjamin if both she and Remco had custody.

As long as Remco remains in America, he is entitled to daily contact with Benjamin. Every day at 5 p.m. in Dutch time, father and son may video call each other for half an hour. Once Remco moves to the Netherlands, the visitation arrangement will be expanded to a generous weekend every two weeks. Benjamin is also with his father every Thursday afternoon after school.

Remco has since moved back to the Netherlands. The relationship with Chloe is remote until she is allowed to settle permanently in the Netherlands. Remco lives in a temporary three-room apartment close to Benjamin. As soon as it is possible, he wants to buy another house for sale in the neighborhood together with Chloe.

Now that the physical distance between Remco and Annelies has become much shorter and the divorce is behind them, the contact between them has become somewhat better. Annelies grants Benjamin contact with his father. Remco picks Benjamin up from school every Thursday afternoon. Next week follows Benjamin’s first overnight stay at his home.

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Simmelink lawyers can help you with your (international) divorce

Filing for divorce in the Netherlands for foreigners requires specific legal knowledge. This is particularly the case with foreigners who do not have Dutch nationality. We have necessary knowledge of and experience with Brussels II-bis international adjournments.

At Simmelink Law Firm, we are ready to guide you through the process from start to end. Whether you decide to separate jointly or separately. we can guide you as a lawyer or through a mediation process. Our services include:

You can read more about information on international family law on the central government website:

Why choose Simmelink Lawyers?

“The best of 2 worlds: personal involvement of a small firm and the professionalism and expertise of a large firm.”

Personal commitment

We are personally involved in your case and accompany you from start to finish. For us, accessibility is key: you can always call or email us with questions. We are always there for you.

Expertise and up-to-date information

As experts in our field, we actively follow all recent developments and rulings. This allows us to always provide you with accurate, up-to-date information and personalized advice.

Results-oriented approach

We act decisively and proactively on your behalf. Our approach ensures that we take on every legal challenge for you and achieve the best possible solution.

Transparency and communication

We believe in the importance of clear communication and transparency in all our interactions. We proactively keep you informed about the progress of your case and all associated costs, so you always know where you stand.

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Disclaimer: The information on this page is general and not intended as specific legal advice. We strive for correctness, but offer no guarantees. For tailored advice, you should contact a lawyer. Reading this page does not create a lawyer-client relationship with Simmelink Advocaten.

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Auteur: Carla Simmelink

Carla Simmelink is advocaat en eigenaar van Advocatenkantoor Simmelink. Haar specialisaties zijn: familierecht, naamrecht en erfrecht in Nederlandse en internationale kwesties. Carla is een betrokken, geïnteresseerde gesprekspartner en gaat voor het beste resultaat. Pragmatisch en doelmatig behartigt zij uw belangen.

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Carla Simmelink

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