Divorce and ending a relationship
In the Netherlands, three kinds of living arrangement are regulated by law: marriage, registered partnership and cohabitation agreements. When it comes to ending the relationship, the rules are different in each case.
Rules for divorce and ending a relationship
More than 30,000 couples get divorced in the Netherlands each year. All kinds of rules apply. In a divorce, property has to be divided up, and agreements have to be made about maintenance and pension. If there are children, good arrangements have to be made about their care and upbringing.
Divorce and separation
In the Netherlands there are three different ways of ending a marriage.
- A divorce (echtscheiding) terminates the marriage. All legal ties between the partners are severed.
- In a legal separation (scheiding van tafel en bed) you remain married before the law though certain rights and obligations associated with marriage no longer apply.
- If a marriage is dissolved (ontbinding) after a legal separation, it is definitively ended and the legal ties between the two partners are severed.
For all types of separation or divorce, the partners must submit an application to the court, through a lawyer.
Termination of registered partnership
A registered partnership may end because one or both partners want to revoke the registration. If there are no children, this can be done without going to court. The partners draw up and conduct an agreement. The lawyer or notary declares that such an agreement had been conducted, after which this agreement is recorded in the Register of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships.
If there are children, the same procedure applies as in the case of a divorce. The partners are obliged to draw up a parenting plan. In relation to maintenance and pension, too (link to page on Maintenance and pension following divorce) the same rules apply to the end of a registered partnership as to divorce.
Ending a relationship where there is no cohabitation agreement
If you live together without a cohabitation agreement and you split up, you have to make agreements about the house, the inventory and the shared property. People living together without a contract are not obliged to support each other. This means that neither partner is entitled to claim maintenance.