The Netherlands vs Foreign Countries

New law

For anyone who marries or enters into a registered partnership from 1 January 2018, an entirely new law applies that regulates joint assets. As a result, our new law is more like rules that apply abroad. The fact that there are more (real) couples with different nationality were one of the reasons for the adjustment. The Netherlands was always very out of step with its version of the community of goods.

Old scheme

That ‘old’ version will remain valid for anyone who is married before 1 January 2018 or entered into a registered partnership and therefore also with most divorces in the coming years. The ‘old’ law frequently leads to regulations that are considered unfair and on which foreigners are not thought up.


An example: Rob, a Dutchman, had received a ton from his parents for the purchase of a house for his young family. His parents had included an exclusion clause in the donation on the advice of the notary. With that, the bar remained private to Rob and did not enter the community. He is therefore entitled to a refund of that ton. His Swiss wife Beate had received an inheritance from her father of a ton. Her father had not made a will and therefore no exclusion clause. That ton fell within the community according to our law and Beate is therefore only entitled to half and her husband on the other half. Beate’s father could not even make an exclusion clause in Swiss law, and according to Swiss law, the inheritance was an entirely private property of Beate. Dutch law crosses this. That feels unfair.

Dutch Judiciary

The Dutch judiciary has recently shown an increasing understanding for this, and some statements allow foreign law to take precedence so that the ton of Beate also remains private. If Rob and Beate were married in 2018, the ton would have remained private for all of them.

16 September 2019