Personal and family law

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Dealing with legal questions and issues in family law can often be overwhelming and emotionally taxing. It may involve sensitive issues such as divorce, separation, child support or child custody.

For legal issues, you need clear and expert advice and guidance. You must make decisions that have a major impact on your life and that of your family. At Simmelink Advocaten, our family law lawyers and divorce mediators provide you with sound advice and guidance, so that you can make informed choices.

We are experienced personal and family lawyers specializing in both national and international personal and family law (private international law). We provide advice and guidance every step of the way for the following legal issues:

We provide an approach tailored to your unique situation. Clear agreements bring peace to rebuild the new life (without each other).

We specialize in personal and family law, and our team of lawyers and mediators offers personal and customized legal services to individuals, business owners and expats, in and outside the Netherlands.

Our personal and family law lawyers and divorce mediators can assist you in the following ways:

  • Attorney at law
    As lawyers, we represent and advise you in legal matters, advocate for your interests in court cases, and provide expert advice on various laws and regulations.
  • Mediation
    In mediation, we are a neutral third party, the mediator, to reach a mutually acceptable solution to a dispute.
  • Second opinion
    You can come to us for additional legal advice or assessment from a lawyer other than the original one to reconsider the approach or strategy of a legal issue.
  • Online divorce
    We offer the option of using image calling to settle the divorce. Clients make extensive use of this option, especially when the travel time is longer as in the case of international separations.

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Divorce, separation or dissolution of registered partnership

Divorce, dissolving a civil partnership or ending a cohabitation involve both emotional and practical challenges. You need to make important decisions about your future and make arrangements with your ex-partner.

We offer guidance on both emotional and legal issues during the divorce process. Divorce is often accompanied by sadness and disappointment, but sometimes also anger. The emotional state of a client who has recently learned that his spouse wants a divorce often differs from that of a client who has made the decision to divorce himself. It is important to recognize that you and your spouse may be at different stages of the divorce process.

Good information, advice and support from a lawyer or divorce mediator specializing in personal and family law are essential for making informed decisions.

Divorce

If you are married and getting divorced, you can do so through mediation or through proceedings with your lawyer. In the first case, you record the agreements you make with your soon-to-be ex-partner in the divorce covenant. Consider agreements about the home, retirement, personal property and alimony. And are there any minor children? Then you must make arrangements about them in a parenting plan.

International divorce

For example, if you have a foreign partner or live abroad, the divorce takes on an international character. As a result, you must take European regulations and international treaties into account. In that case, specialized advice is necessary. For this you can contact Law Office Simmelink.

Dissolve registered partnership

The dissolution or termination of a cohabitation usually proceeds in the same way as a divorce. The same topics are also discussed, such as the division of your assets, the calculation of alimony and – if there are minor children – the preparation of a parenting plan. Occasionally, it is possible to dissolve a registered partnership by agreement, without the need for a court ruling.

Breaking up when living together unmarried

Many couples who live together unmarried and separate often wonder about the legal consequences. In fact, many rules that apply in divorce do not apply to unmarried ex-partners. Then what happens to the children and the rental or purchase property? How are assets divided, is there a right to alimony, and what role does the cohabitation contract play?

Separation of table and bed

Legal separation means that you remain married before the law, but your (former) partner, and you, start living separately. So you no longer share table and bed, nor are you tax partners. All assets must also be divided between you and your (former) partner. You may have several reasons for choosing a legal separation.

Divorce and owning a business

Are you getting divorced and have your own business? Or is your partner an entrepreneur? Then a divorce or the dissolution of a registered partnership often affects the business as well. Not only your personal interests or the children come into play, but also the interests and the continuity of the business. Then it is important that you get advice from a true specialist.

Partner alimony

Spousal maintenance is a financial contribution towards the cost of living from one ex-partner to another ex-partner. The obligation to pay spousal support arises after a divorce or the dissolution of a registered partnership if one of the ex-partners (the other spouse) is unable to fully support himself or herself.

In most cases, the supporting spouse pays a monthly amount to the dependent spouse for several years, but it is also possible to decide in mutual consultation to buy off the maintenance obligation by paying a lump sum. It is also possible to make other payment arrangements.

Visit our spousal support page for essential information on this topic and how we can assist you. You will find an overview of the legal aspects and how we can assist you.

Child support

Child support is a financial arrangement in which one parent pays an amount to the other parent after a divorce, intended as a contribution to the children’s expenses. This is because parents, even after divorce, remain jointly responsible for the care and upbringing of their children, including the financial aspects.

To get an initial indication of the amount of child support you may have to pay or could receive, use our free child support calculation tool. This calculator asks you a number of questions about your family situation and the income of both you and your ex-partner, in order to provide an estimate of the expected alimony amount.

Division of community of property or settlement of prenuptial agreement

With a marriage or registered partnership in the Netherlands, there are three situations:

As of Jan. 1, 2018, when you get married, you fall under the “limited community of property” by default. This means that assets and debts you had before the marriage remain your personal property.

However, if you were married before Jan. 1, 2018, all assets and debts belong to joint ownership. The same rules apply to registered partnerships. To record deviating agreements, contact a notary.

As a law firm, we have extensive practical experience with situations involving prenuptial agreements. We can offer valuable insights and advice based on our extensive experience in personal and family law. A second opinion can help you include the right terms to ensure your best interests are protected.

Limited community of property (married on or after Jan. 1, 2018)

If you married on or after Jan. 1, 2018, you will automatically fall under the limited community of property regime. This includes:

  • Property or debts you owned personally before the marriage remain your personal property. For example, a house or car that was in your name only.
  • Property or debts that you and your partner had together before the marriage remain joint property.
  • All assets and debts acquired during the marriage become common property.
  • Inheritances or gifts you receive are personal property and are not shared with your partner, even if you receive them during your marriage.

These rules also apply to registered partnerships.

General community of property (married before Jan. 1, 2018)

If you entered into marriage before Jan. 1, 2018, you automatically fell under the system of the general community of property. This means:

  • All assets and debts acquired both before and during the marriage become joint property of you and your partner.
  • For example, if you already owned your own house before the marriage, this house became common property from the time of marriage.
  • Exceptions are inheritances or gifts made only to one partner.

These regulations also apply to registered partnerships.

Nuptial agreements

With prenuptial agreements, the division depends on the arrangements you have made. Marital agreements allow you to make your own arrangements about assets and debts. This is useful if one of you has your own business or to keep certain assets, such as family heirlooms, separate.

These terms are drawn up by a notary and can be changed during the marriage. In a divorce, the division depends on the agreements you made.

At Simmelink Law Firm, we understand that every situation is unique. We approach the distribution of your assets with care and attention to your personal circumstances. Whether it is savings, real estate, stocks, or personal property such as jewelry or art.

When drafting the prenuptial agreement, we can think with you to include the right terms. We bring a lot of practical experience is. Contact us for a second opinion.

Dividing pension in divorce

Under Dutch law, you are entitled to half of the pension that your ex-partner has accrued. However, you can also choose other distribution arrangements. These agreements are recorded in the divorce covenant.

Legal right to half

In the event of a divorce, you and your former partner are both entitled to half of each other’s pensions. This is stipulated by law. It refers to the pension accrued during the marriage or registered partnership. This method of division is known as “pension equalization.

Choosing your own distribution

You can choose to divide the pension differently by making specific arrangements about it. Prior to or during the marriage, these can be recorded by a notary in your prenuptial agreement or partnership agreement.

Upon divorce, the lawyer can record the division in the divorce covenant. This document contains all the agreements made, including the division of assets, home, pension, debts and the arrangement of alimony.

Exceptions to pension sharing

The following pension forms do not need to be divided:

  • General Old Age Security Act (AOW).
    The pension benefit from the Dutch government;
  • Annuity
    A form of insurance that pays out until the insured dies or until an end date that is predetermined.
  • Survivor’s pension
    A benefit provided to the partner or children of a deceased person, often based on the pension the deceased had accrued.

Divorce as a business owner

When you or your partner own a business, divorce brings additional complexities. Not only are personal, family and family relationships important, but also the very existence and continuity of the business.

Read more: Divorce and owning your own business

International separation: cross-border legal challenges

Divorce is already complex, but with different nationalities or countries of residence, it becomes even more complicated. International divorces involve specific issues:

  • Which country’s personal and family law applies?
  • Which country or court has jurisdiction to handle the divorce?
  • How is the concept of cross-country access arrangements fleshed out?
  • What arrangements are made for spousal and child support in relation to applicable law? For example, there are big differences whether you get divorced in the United States or in the Netherlands.
  • How are international assets and debts distributed?
  • And how do we ensure that a divorce is recognized internationally, in the countries involved?

Read more: International divorce.

Joint custody as parents over children

Parental authority concerns the responsibilities and rights of parents for their minor children. This involves decision-making around parenting, care and the child’s assets. When parents do not live together or divorce, the issue of custody often arises. This can range from joint custody, where both parents have a say, to sole custody with one deciding parent.

Read more: How can I apply for joint custody as parents?

Read a real-life story about parental authority: Recognizing foreign husband for custody.

Our approach

Over the years, we have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience within personal and family law, both nationally and internationally. With this experience and expertise, we can support you with the right course of action in all cases.

Attorney at law

As lawyers, we can assist you in various ways if you are divorcing or separating. We can advise, mediate, negotiate and litigate in court to represent your interests. Before starting legal proceedings in court, we try to reach an arrangement with the other party.

Mediator

In mediation, an impartial mediator helps you through your divorce, the dissolution of your civil partnership or if you are separating as cohabitants. The mediator is independent and will discuss all possible solutions with you and the other party that will help you both.

Second opinion

Do you already have a lawyer or mediator, but are unsure about the direction and progress of the process? Would you like advice on part of an ongoing case? In a second opinion, we discreetly take a neutral and objective look at your case. Furthermore, we can advise you whether to appeal after a court decision.

Online divorce

If you live farther away, or abroad, it is not always possible or practical to meet at our office. With us, this is not a problem. It is also possible to speak with our lawyers via video call (a secure connection). If desired, we can combine physical appointments and image calling. Together, we can make a choice that best suits your situation. Whatever you choose, our quality and personal contact remain guaranteed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is family law?

Law of persons and family law is an area of civil law that focuses on all kinds of family relationships, such as birth, marriage, divorce and protection of persons. This right is described in the Civil Code, among others.

In addition, international law also plays a major role. For example, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) contains the main rules relating to family law, which have a major impact in the Netherlands. In particular, the fundamental right to family life, Article 8 ECHR, has great influence on case law and legislation.

What is marital status?

Civil registration is a government agency responsible for registering important life events of individuals. At least the following are recorded:

  • Birth registration
    Registration is followed by the issuance of a birth certificate, an official document that confirms the birth date, place, and names of the child’s parents.
  • Marriage Registration
    After a couple gets married, the marriage is registered with the civil registry. This results in a marriage certificate, which is the legal proof of the marriage.
  • Registration of registered partnership
  • Divorce registry
    When a marriage or registered partnership is dissolved, it is also registered with the civil registry.
  • Death Registration
    A person’s death is registered with the civil registry, leading to the issuance of a death certificate.
  • Changes in personal data
    The civil registry is also responsible for recording changes in personal information, such as first name changes.

What does a family law lawyer cost?

At Simmelink Lawyers, we understand that the cost of legal representation is an important consideration. This is why we strive for clarity and transparency in our fees. Costs depend on several factors, including the complexity of your case and the lawyer’s experience.

We offer different rate structures:

  • Hourly rate
    This depends on the nature and complexity of your case. We will discuss this rate during the intake interview.
  • Fixed price
    For certain services, such as first name changes and alimony calculations, we offer a fixed price.
  • Funded legal aid (formerly: pro bono lawyer)
    Depending on your income, you may qualify for subsidized legal aid. If your case can be handled on an add-on basis, it is best to contact the Legal Help Desk. They will help you find a lawyer who works on this basis.
  • Legal expenses insurance
    If you have legal expenses insurance, it may cover the costs.

We provide periodic billing so you always have a clear overview of the costs. During the free, no-obligation intake consultation, we will give you an accurate overview of the expected costs so you know where you stand.

What does a family law lawyer at Simmelink Law Firm do?

As personal and family law lawyers and divorce mediators, we focus on any family law issue the relates to family relationships and your private life. We offer a full and comprehensive range of personal and family law services:

  1. Legal advice and guidance:
    We offer expert legal advice and guidance in personal and family law. This includes divorce, alimony, child custody, and the settlement of your prenuptial agreements.
  2. Mediation and conciliation:
    If you and your partner are willing to work together, we can act as mediators to help you reach an amicable settlement. This is often the case in divorces and the preparation of parenting plans.
  3. Divorce support:
    We guide and advise you in all aspects of divorce, from the division of your assets to child support and the preparation of a parenting plan.
  4. Advice on prenuptial agreements
    We help you draft, review and modify prenuptial agreements, both before and during your marriage.
  5. Handling inheritance issues
    Our expertise also extends to inheritance law, advising you on wills, probate and the distribution of estates.
  6. International family law
    For you with international aspects in your family law issues, we offer specialized knowledge in private international law.

At Simmelink Lawyers, we understand that family law issues are often emotionally charged. We approach each case with empathy and seek solutions that are in the best interests of all parties involved. For more information about our services in personal and family law, we invite you to contact us or visit our website.

How does the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) affect the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) plays an important role in of shaping family law legislation and jurisprudence in the Netherlands by setting fundamental standards and protecting individual rights within the context of family relationships.

The main topics are:

My ex doesn’t pay child support

If you are facing the problem of your ex-partner not paying child support, you can appeal to the Landelijk Bureau Inning Onderhoudsbijdragen (LBIO). The LBIO is a government agency that can help you collect child support. They act when the maintenance obligor fails to meet his or her payment obligations.

Reviews from former clients

Our clients value us for the quality of our advice, our expertise, the personal involvement of our attorneys, and the clarity in our communication. They often indicate that they wish they had stepped into our office sooner. Read all reviews.

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