International family law lawyers

Specialized expertise in international family law
Experience with cultural differences
Personal approach
Cooperation with international networks
Accessibility and video calling

At Simmelink Lawyers, we recognize the complexity and nuances of international family law. Whether you are facing an international relocation, marriage, or divorce, our specialized lawyers offer expert guidance and support.

At Simmelink Lawyers, our focus is on supporting Dutch nationals living abroad and expatriates in the Netherlands. Our services are specifically designed to address the unique challenges and cultural differences people encounter in their family law matters. Our specialized lawyers are prepared to offer you expert guidance and support in a range of situations:

  • Divorces
  • International removals
  • Marriage issues
  • Partner alimony
  • Child support
  • Distribution of wealth
  • Child access arrangement
  • Objective assessments and opinions (second opinions)

We blend our in-depth knowledge of Dutch family law with expertise in private international law and international treaties. This enables us to effectively advise and guide you through the complexities of cross-border family law issues.

While based in Maarssen (The Netherlands), we operate globally. We are prepared to assist you with your unique legal challenges. Contact us for personal advice and find out how we can provide effective solutions to your legal challenges.

Our real-world experiences (use cases)

At Simmelink Lawyers, we recognize that an international divorce can be complex and overwhelming. It is more than just ending a marriage; it often includes cross-border legal challenges, cultural nuances and emotional tensions.

To give you a clearer picture of how we can assist you in such situations, below are some real stories from our practice, highlighting the complexity and diversity of international divorce cases.

International divorce in the Netherlands: experience of Lukas & Elise

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

From American dream to international divorce

A divorce in the Netherlands, Germany, Australia and South Africa

Please contact us

For any questions regarding international family law, you are welcome to visit our office in Maarssen – Utrecht (The Netherlands). Our international family law lawyers possess the necessary knowledge and expertise to assist you. Despite our office being located in Maarssen, we offer worldwide services thanks to our video calling capabilities.

Would you like to schedule an appointment or learn more?
Contact us

Support for Dutch, expatriate and foreign lawyers

At Simmelink Advocaten, we assist Dutch nationals living abroad and individuals of other nationalities, including expatriates residing in the Netherlands, with their family law issues. Our clients are spread worldwide, and our team is experienced in dealing with cultural differences.

In addition, we offer expert advice to both our international clients and foreign lawyers. Our expertise includes representing the interests of expatriates in the Netherlands and assisting Dutch clients in cross-border divorce and other international family law disputes.

Legal implications of international relations

Moving abroad not only brings consequences in one’s personal life, but can also have legal implications. Questions relevant when changing countries include:

  • Will you and/or your partner retain your own nationality or acquire another nationality such as Dutch?
  • Where were your children born and what nationality are your children?
  • Will you be living abroad for an extended period of time?
  • Are you married abroad and will a move affect your marriage? Or are you planning to get married and don’t yet know where?

Looking for an international family law lawyer?

Our services

At Simmelink Lawyers, our focus is on supporting Dutch nationals living abroad and expatriates in the Netherlands. Our services are specifically designed to address the unique challenges and cultural differences these groups encounter in their family law matters.

Our expertise

Our expertise is not limited to local clients; we also provide expert advice to international clients and foreign lawyers. This includes a wide range of services, from representing the interests of expats in the Netherlands to supporting Dutch clients in cross-border divorce and other international family law disputes.

We have an extensive network of lawyers abroad for additional expertise. We are also engaged by foreign lawyers for issues in the Netherlands.

Our services in international family law

At Simmelink Advocaten, our specialized lawyers in international family law offer comprehensive legal support on various international aspects.


  • On unilateral request
    Guidance on filing for divorce by one party.
  • Through mediation
    Support in reaching an amicable settlement between the two parties.
  • Four-talk
    Facilitate joint discussions with all stakeholders.
  • Advice for questions or for mediation and a second opinion
    We can advise you on a variety of questions without a lengthy consulting process. In addition, we can think and advise with you in the background during mediation. As well as for a second opinion if you want an independent look at an ongoing case with another lawyer or if you are considering an appeal.

Divorce at unilateral request
This happens when one partner decides to divorce, and it is not possible to make arrangements with the other partner. The partner who wants a divorce files for divorce with the court.

Divorce via mediation
This is a way to divorce in which a neutral third party, the mediator, helps reach agreements together. The goal is to settle a divorce in a way that is acceptable to both partners.

These are meetings where both partners and their respective lawyers come together to negotiate and agree on the divorce.

Want to start a divorce or learn more?
Contact us

Child support and spousal support

  • Calculation and modification of spousal support
    Assistance in establishing and modifying alimony.
  • Calculation and modification of child support
    Assistance in establishing and modifying alimony.
  • International situations
    Special attention to cases where the payer or recipient of alimony lives abroad.

Partner alimony
After a divorce, one partner may be required to provide financial support to the other partner, especially if they are unable to earn sufficient income on their own.

Child support
A financial contribution paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the children’s expenses after a divorce.


  • Disputes between parents
    Advice and mediation in conflicts regarding parental authority, such as moving abroad or international travel with children. Learn more about parental or joint custody of children.

Authority: The right and responsibility of parents to make decisions about important aspects of their child’s life, such as education and health care.


  • Establishing and modifying care arrangements
    Assistance in drafting and modifying (international) access arrangements, co-parenting and parenting plans.

Contact: This is about the arrangements made about how often and in what way the non-custodial parent spends time with the children after a divorce

Asset settlement

  • Division of community of property
    Guidance on the division of joint assets and debts.
  • Settlement of prenuptial agreements
    Specific support in the settlement of (foreign) prenuptial agreements.

Asset settlement: This process involves dividing assets and debts between partners after a divorce. It determines who gets what from the joint assets.


  • Distribution of foreign pensions
    Expertise in distributing pensions across national borders.

Second opinion and independent advice

  • Objective assessment
    Provide a second opinion in complex international family law matters.
  • Independent legal advice
    Provide impartial advice to ensure your best interests are represented.

What forms of international divorce are there?

Depending on your situation, different forms of international separation may apply:

Litigate in the Netherlands or abroad? Jurisdiction and applicable law

When considering marriage or divorce under international circumstances, several factors may determine whether a legal system other than Dutch law applies:

  • If you decide to get married abroad.
  • If one or both of you lives abroad.
  • If one or both of the spouses are foreign nationals .
  • If there are assets or possessions abroad.

In these situations, a law other than Dutch law may apply.

Even when the Dutch court has jurisdiction, another legal system may apply to your situation, such as alimony or marital property. The Netherlands is bound by EU regulations and international treaties. We will help you determine what is most beneficial in your situation, whether it is better to litigate in the Netherlands or abroad.

Which court has jurisdiction?

In international law of persons and family law, it is very important to first determine under what law a dispute should be resolved or an agreement legally established. Which court has jurisdiction to hear and decide it?

If multiple courts have jurisdiction over a dispute or there is a choice in the application of Dutch or foreign law, we can work with you to determine which is most favorable to you. Given our vast experience and extensive network of foreign law firms, we can give you excellent advice on whether it is better to litigate in the Netherlands or abroad.

International law of persons and family law: legal issues in a world of globalization without borders

“International Law of Persons and Family Law” is an area of law that deals with family law issues that have an international element. This can cover situations where the parties involved are of different nationalities, live in different countries, or when the legal issue itself is cross-border.

In our increasingly connected world, we see a clear international trend in the way people live and work. With an increasing number of people going abroad for study, work or as knowledge migrants, international relationships are becoming more common. This development is having a significant impact on family law, with cross-border issues introducing a new dimension of complexity.

The “International Law of Persons and Family Law”

International law of persons and family law is a dynamic area of law that focuses on family law issues with an international element. This area of law is becoming increasingly relevant in our globalized world, with people of different nationalities entering into relationships or living in different countries.

The legal issues within this area can range from marriage and divorce to custody and estates. Each of these aspects brings its own challenges in an international context. For example, in divorces, there may be differences in the laws of the countries involved on issues such as alimony and property division.

Private international law

A crucial part of International Law of Persons and Family Law is Private International Law. This aspect of the law plays a key role in determining which legal system and laws apply to a specific case.

Private international law helps resolve conflicts between different legal systems and ensures that there are clear legal guidelines in cases involving multiple countries. It includes rules that determine which court has jurisdiction to hear a case and which laws of a particular country apply to different aspects of a case, such as marriage, divorce, custody and estate.

Due to the complexity of these international legal issues, specialized knowledge of both family law and private international law is essential. Lawyers working in this field must be familiar not only with the laws of their countries, but also with the international treaties and conventions that affect cross-border family law cases.

Core aspects of international family law

International law of persons and family law covers various aspects, including:

  1. Marriage and partnerships
    This includes matters such as the conclusion and dissolution of marriages and registered partnerships across national borders, as well as the legal recognition of these relationships in different countries.
  2. Divorce
    International divorces can be complex, especially when it comes to division of assets, alimony, and child custody. Different countries may have different laws and procedures for handling divorces.
  3. Guardianship and child protection
    This covers issues such as child custody, visitation arrangements, and child protection in cases where parents live in different countries or have different nationalities.
  4. Inheritance law and estates
    Managing estates where the deceased had assets in different countries, or has heirs of different nationalities.
  5. International child abduction
    This refers to cases where a child is unlawfully taken or detained in a country other than where they usually live, often by one of the parents.
  6. Nationality issues
    Issues surrounding the nationality of individuals, particularly how it may affect family law issues.
  7. International legal cooperation
    This includes cooperation between different countries in handling family law matters, including the recognition and enforcement of foreign legal decisions.

Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments

In the context of international divorce and family law disputes, the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments plays a crucial role.

At Simmelink Lawyers, we have extensive experience with foreign judgment issues. We can support you in:

  • Challenging or, on the contrary, recognizing a foreign judgment in the Netherlands
  • Advice on the impact of such a judgment on your situation.

We ensure that your rights are protected no matter where the judgment was issued.

Specialist lawyers and expertise in International family law from Simmelink Advocaten

At Simmelink Advocaten, we combine in-depth knowledge of Dutch family law with expertise in private international law and international treaties. This enables us to effectively advise and guide you through the complexities of cross-border family law issues.

Our specialized lawyers are experienced in handling various legal areas, from international marriages and divorces to custody and estates that span multiple countries. We are committed to handling all matters clearly, fairly and efficiently, with the best interests of our clients as our top priority.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Should I get divorced in the country where I got married?

No, you don’t always have to. In the Netherlands, the location of the marriage ceremony is irrelevant to the international jurisdiction of the court. The place of the marriage ceremony may well determine the applicable law. This depends on your nationality.

Is moving back to my home country with the children not child abduction?

It depends. You need permission from the other parent to move with the children. Without this permission, leaving with the children may be considered child abduction. If you do not get this permission, you can ask the court for substitute permission.

Can any lawyer handle international divorces?

No, family law is a specialized branch. Separations with an international aspect require specific knowledge. It is recommended that you hire a lawyer who specializes in international family law.

If the divorce takes place in the Netherlands, does it take place under Dutch law?

This depends on your situation. For each topic, national and international regulations are used to determine the applicable law. This may include a foreign legal system.

Should I respond to letters from foreign courts?

Yes, it is important to do respond to this. Ignoring these letters can lead to a foreign judgment ordering you to pay high alimony, for example. In most cases, this judgment can be enforced in the Netherlands.

Does the cause of the divorce matter?

In the Netherlands, the reason for the divorce does not matter. In some surrounding countries, however, the cause may be important to the course of divorce and its consequences.

What happens to our joint assets in an international divorce?

The distribution of joint assets in an international echo divorce can be complex, especially if those assets are located in different countries. The law applicable to the matrimonial property regime, along with international treaties, determines how assets are distributed. It is essential to seek legal advice to ensure fair and equitable distribution.

How is child support determined in international situations?

In international divorces, determining child support can be complicated, especially when parents live in different countries. Different countries have different criteria for calculating alimony. International treaties and local laws may affect the final decision.

What law applies to my international divorce?

The law applicable to an international divorce depends on several factors, such as the nationality of the spouses, the location of the marriage, and the country in which they currently reside. Determining the correct law can be complex, and it is advisable to seek legal advice.

What is an international separation and how is it different from a national separation?

An international divorce occurs when a couple from different countries or with different nationalities decide to end their marriage. This can create complications, such as choosing the competent court, applying different laws and recognizing the divorce in other countries.

Do I have to have my international divorce recognized in other countries?

Yes, it is often necessary to have the international divorce recognized in the countries where you have property or where you intend to live in the future. Recognition of divorce can vary from country to country, so it is important to get information on this.

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