Six months after she left the United States, Juliette called for an appointment. Juliette had fallen in love with a colleague from New York. She was a legal assistant at a large international law firm and her Tom had worked there for some time as a lawyer, first in the US and then in Amsterdam. After a sparkling start to their relationship, Juliette and Tom moved in together in Tom’s apartment on Reguliersgracht. It was a fantastic time that was crowned with Juliette’s much-desired pregnancy.
Tom Jr. was born in 2009 and in 2011 they moved to New York where Tom became a partner in the firm. Juliette, however, could not find her way after a long time, and moreover Tom seemed a different person in New York, less empathetic and no attention for the family. These things had a major impact on their relationship which ultimately did not last. Juliette went back to Amsterdam with their child but found out that Tom, through his influential and wealthy family, had arranged a provisional settlement through the court, which meant that in practice junior was only allowed to spend one (long) holiday in the Netherlands and the rest of the year with his father. Disconcerted, she came to see me. Juliette felt from her experience that it is almost impossible to get your rights in the US if you don’t have a lot of money and influence, like her ex-partner. After studying the documents, relevant legislation and case law, I was able to reassure her. Fortunately, it doesn’t work that way in the Netherlands. The arrangements drawn up by the New York court did not hold up here. Tom Jr. lives with her and goes to visit his father twice a year for a number of weeks, who by the way is also more often in Amsterdam.1 July 2020