Expert and youth panel: Five entries Divorce Challenge declared front runners

On Wednesday 14 December, in the presence of Minister Van der Steur (Security and Justice), the so-called five front runners of the Divorce Challenge were announced. The selection was made by the expert and youth panel. The Divorce Challenge is the result of a motion by the House of Representatives. A total of 506 entries were submitted.

Children often face difficulties, as parents fail to redefine their parenthood after divorce.  The Divorce Challenge aims to collect ideas that lead to improve the situations of these children.

The Ministry of Security and Justice will make a contribution to the further elaboration of the selected proposals. In addition to the five front runners, the expert panel has also identified a number of reoccurring themes, e.g. fact-finding by the authorities involved, multi-disciplinary collaboration and prevention.  Entries came from various parties: professionals, experiential experts and those otherwise involved.

Minister Van der Steur is proud of the Divorce Challenge, which is already a success at this stage. An important objective is to form ideas by linking up existing knowledge in new ways. The Minister believes all entries are important to the Ministry, as together they paint a wider picture of the problems surrounding divorces. “In a short space of time, numerous people from various disciplines have found each other. I’m thrilled that the Divorce Challenge has produced such a broad palette of problem-solving approaches. It’s important that the range of interventions and the legal process link up well with each other. We therefore have to continue to work on more and better collaboration. All this is aimed at making the best possible contribution to preventing children from continuing to become the victims of messy divorces”, the Minister said.
The expert panel, under the supervision of Nick Huls (professor emeritus of sociology of law,) has selected an entry for each of the four phases of problems surrounding messy divorces. The panel also selected a front runner that comprises all phases. In addition to the expert panel, a special youth panel of nine youngsters aged 14 to 23 also selected an entry, in order to properly represent the perspective of the child.
The five front runners are:

  • Phase 1 When things are still going well: Ymke Rinsema (innovation manager): Two2tango

Digital platform for couples who have doubts about their relationship or who have taken the decision to divorce with the objective of creating an insight and overview in order to make well-considered choices.

  • Phase 2 The inital problems: Pieter Stoop (education): All schools are experts!

The development of a protocol, vision and policy for schools (on a voluntary basis) in the field of divorces with the objective: guidance and advice for children and parents. This entry was also selected by the youth panel.  

  • Phase 3 An inevitable break-up: Ypie Terpstra (Child Care and Protection Board): BRAM

Coordinating proceedings at the court, with support and involvement by the Child Care and Protection Board to prevent children falling victim to a prolonged divorce action by their parents.

  • Phase 4 After the divorce: Margreet Visser and Justine van Lawick (therapists): Children off the hook

Further development of this existing child-oriented treatment programme for parents and children to prevent further conflicts.

  • Phases 1 to 4: Maurits Barendrecht (HiiL): Legal care in the event of divorce

A new set-up of the system underpinned by four objectives, including entering into agreements when a child is born, access to lawyers without a legal battle and online support method.
Support by the Ministry of Security and Justice is provided through customisation.  This can involve advice and guidance, offering a platform to present the idea, assistance in initiating contacts or removing possible impediments in legislation. This aid does not necessarily need to come from the government; it can also be provided by other partners. During the presentation, Minister Van der Steur appealed to those present to make their expertise or network available in order to move the Divorce Challenge forward.
Early 2017, Minister Van der Steur will inform the House of Representatives on the progress of the ‘messy divorce’ dossier, which includes the positives generated by the Divorce Challenge.