Arranging a divorce, legal separation or ending a civil partnership

If you and your partner wish to legally separate, divorce or end your civil partnership, you will need to make a number of arrangements.

Drawing up a settlement

A settlement is a document in which you can set out the agreements you and your partner make concerning your children, maintenance, your joint pension and other matters. Settlements are usually drawn up by a lawyer.

Filing for divorce or ending a civil partnership

Once you are both satisfied with the settlement, you and your partner submit a petition for divorce to the court through your lawyer.

There are 3 ways for married partners to separate:

  • divorce;
  • legal separation (you are still married but you do not live together);
  • dissolution of the marriage after legal separation.

If you and your partner have formed a civil partnership, are in agreement and do not have children, you can end your civil partnership out of court. If you have children under the age of 18 or only one of you wishes to end the relationship, you must ask the court to end the partnership.

Agreeing a settlement

If you wish, you can set out the agreements you and your partner have made about maintenance, the children, your joint pension and other matters in a settlement. You are under no obligation to draw up a settlement. However, if you do, you may wish to have your lawyer draft the document since he or she is already involved. Otherwise, you are free to do it yourself or engage a civil-law notary to do it for you.

Registering your divorce with the municipality in which you married

After the court has issued a divorce decree, you must finalise your divorce by having it recorded in the registry of births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships (registers van de Burgerlijke Stand) in the municipality where you were married. You can do this yourself or have your lawyer do it. You may notify the municipality of your divorce only after the court has issued the decree.

If you are moving house, notify the municipality, which will then inform all other government agencies of your change of address.

Calculating the cost of divorce proceedings

The costs of divorce proceedings comprise:

  • Court fees

    You must pay court fees to file a petition for divorce.
  • Legal fees

    You need to engage a lawyer to file the divorce petition with the court. If you and your partner are in agreement on the settlement, you can save money by engaging just one lawyer.
  • Mediation fees

    You may wish to engage a mediator. Though not required, a mediator can help you and your partner make arrangements that work for both of you.

In some cases, legal aid is available to cover some of the costs involved. If you have legal expenses insurance, your insurer may reimburse you for some or all of the costs. Contact your insurer for more information.

Making agreements about maintenance payments

If one of the partners does not have enough income to live on, the other has a duty to supplement that income by paying partneralimentatie (partner maintenance). Click here for more information about arranging partner maintenance.

Sharing joint pension rights

If you divorce, legally separate or end a civil partnership, you and your partner must make arrangements for sharing your joint pension.

Consequences for your AOW pension

If you divorce or separate, the amount of state pension you are entitled to changes. If you live alone, your pension will amount to 70% of the net minimum wage. For more information about how your AOW pension will be affected visit the website of the Sociale Verzekeringsbank – SVB (social insurance bank) .

Tax arrangements after a relationship ends

When you divorce, separate or end a civil partnership, there are also tax-related matters to be settled, such as allowances and mortgage interest relief. For more information contact the Belastingdienst (Tax and Customs Administration).

Applying for a DigiD log-in code or changing a DigiD authorisation

It is important to make sure you are able to conduct your business with government agencies yourself using a DigiD. A DigiD is a digital form of identificaiton. If, upon the ending of your relationship, you do not have your own DigiD log-in code, you should apply for one. If your partner is authorised to file your income tax return, it is important to change this authorisation.

Children and divorce, separation or ending a civil partnership

If you have children under the age of 18, you will need to make arrangements and agreements with your partner. See ‘Making arrangements concerning the children’ for more information.