Expat and divorce


The Randstad is popular with expats. Amsterdam is steadily moving towards a million inhabitants. The city is a magnet for educated foreigners, most from England, America, India and Germany. I also see this internationalization in my practice. Getting involved in legal proceedings in your own country is already annoying, in another country all the more.

International family law

In the event of a divorce, many expats first try to solve the case through mediation. It is important to find out what ideas people have about the consequences of the divorce. People from other countries come from different legal systems. To what extent does their expectation differ from the way in which Dutch law offers solutions? In the Netherlands, only the court can pronounce a divorce and there is only one reason for this: the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Why, that is not relevant for the judge. In the Netherlands it is not possible for one spouse to stop a divorce becoming final, while this is possible in other countries.

Alimony abroad

Some time ago I was again surprised by the great cultural differences: the woman said that a divorce was absolutely out of the question. Returning to her home country as a divorced woman would cause serious social repercussions for her and her parents. In the Netherlands, alimony is also handled differently. For example, the maintenance period is to be shortened to a maximum of 5 years (with some notable exceptions). This rule also applies to expats living in the Netherlands, even if they both have the nationality of a country where this is regulated very differently. There may also be surprises in the division of their assets if a foreign couple has not entered into a prenuptial agreement. Extra caution is therefore required when expats are divorced.


Do you have questions regarding international divorces? Then contact one of our lawyers! We specialize in family law

1 July 2019