International divorce and custody with unreachable partner: from the Netherlands with Italian mother and Canadian father

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Auteur: Carla Simmelink

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A divorce involving a foreign partner can already be quite complex. It becomes even more complex when children are involved. Especially if the parents live in a country other than the country of the child’s nationality. In what country does the court have jurisdiction when things don’t go as hoped?

International divorce and custody with unreachable partner: from the Netherlands with Italian mother and Canadian father

A divorce involving a foreign partner can already be quite complex. It becomes even more complex when children are involved. Especially if the parents live in a country other than the country of the child’s nationality. In what country does the court have jurisdiction when things don’t go as hoped?

During her college days, Italian Claudia fell in love with Canadian Ryan. After some wandering around the world, they decide to settle in Claudia’s native country: Italy. After several years of marriage, their happiness is sealed with the birth of daughter Luca, she is born in Italy.

Assistance with international divorce in the Netherlands

Claudia and Ryan’s relationship cannot withstand everything they encounter in their path, and so after several years, Claudia decides that there is no other solution than to divorce the Canadian Ryan.

Making arrangements to deal with Luca went smoothly, fortunately. Luca stays with Claudia. It is also agreed that Claudia may travel freely with Luca. However, Ryan does want to retain custody of his daughter. This means that both Claudia and Ryan have a say in Luca’s care.

Claudia moves to the Netherlands with Luca

When Claudia is offered a job in the Netherlands, she decides to move to the Netherlands with her daughter. She does everything she can to keep in touch with Ryan, especially for daughter Luca, but that proves more difficult than expected. Ryan no longer wants to cooperate, he wants more than anything for Claudia and him to get back together. If that turns out not to be an option, Claudia will no longer have contact with her partner Ryan. He also no longer responds to messages from his daughter.

Father Ryan is unreachable

After living in the Netherlands for several years, contact with “Canada” bled to death: Ryan no longer responds to attempts by Claudia to get in touch. Because they do still have joint custody of their daughter, this means Claudia runs into difficult situations in practice.

No new passport application for daughter

The situation becomes truly dire the moment Luca’s Italian passport expires. With an Italian lawyer, Claudia tries to apply for a new passport but the Italian judge declares himself incompetent. Based on European legislation Brussels II bis, the Italian court may not grant substitute consent. Claudia is at her wit’s end and knocks on the door of our office at that point.

Brussels II bis is a European Union regulation. This regulation determines which court has international jurisdiction in matters of marriage and parental responsibility.
Brussels II Ba applies to all member states of the European Union except Denmark.

Which judge has jurisdiction to render judgment in Claudia’s case?

Together with Claudia, we will consider which judge has jurisdiction in this specific situation, in her case it is the Dutch court. A hearing will follow in the Netherlands, where replacement consent will again be requested for the Italian passport. The substitute permission is needed because Ryan is unreachable and thus uncooperative in renewing his daughter’s passport.

Fortunately, the outcome for Claudia is now favorable: 4 weeks after the hearing, the Dutch judge rules: the request for substitute consent is granted and thus Claudia can apply for a new Italian passport for her daughter Luca. Claudia and Luca decide to celebrate immediately by visiting family in Italy, something that is finally possible again now that Luca has a valid passport.

Unfortunately, there is still no contact between Ryan and Luca. Claudia hopes that one day Ryan will come forward and turn out to be involved with his daughter after all. Claudia, meanwhile, has a new relationship with Dutch Ruud: a bonus father for Luca who looks after her.

In practice, Claudia now runs into the problem more often than not that she cannot make important decisions because authority is shared with the unreachable Ryan. Therefore, it was recently decided to apply for sole custody of Luca anyway.

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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:

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