8 August 2022

Do I need assistance with my divorce?

By Lise-Milou Lagerwerf

If you or your partner has made the decision to divorce, you will have a lot to deal with.

You might wonder “do I need any assistance with my divorce?”. In this blog, I discuss the ways you can get divorced and the assistance you need during the divorce process.

General information

If you want to divorce, you will always need a lawyer to file the petition for divorce with the court on your behalf. In order to get a divorce, there must be an ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage’. In practice, this means that if one of you wants a divorce, the court will always pronounce the divorce even if the other partner does not wish to divorce. There are no further requirements. For example, there is no waiting period before you can get a divorce. It is always the court that pronounces the divorce.

What is included in a divorce?

If you or your partner wishes to divorce, it is not only the divorce that will be handled. During a divorce proceeding, arrangements must also be made about the children: who will the children live with, how often will they see the other parent and the amount of child maintenance due. Furthermore, arrangements should be made about the possibility of partner maintenance, the division of assets/settlement of the prenuptial agreement and the division of pensions.

The routes to a divorce

Briefly, there are three ‘routes’ to a divorce.

The mutual divorce

The first route is a mutual divorce. This means that you and your partner will jointly seek a lawyer/mediator. This lawyer/mediator will assist you to jointly agree on the arrangements. The arrangements about the children are set out in a parenting plan. The arrangements about the financial consequences of the divorce are recorded in a divorce settlement. These documents are then sent to the court along with a joint petition for divorce by the divorce lawyer. In this route, the divorce proceedings take place in writing. There is no court session. The court will pronounce the divorce relatively soon after the documents are filed.

Both parties have their own lawyer: reaching agreement

If the first route does not produce a positive outcome or if you and your spouse do not wish to pursue this route, the second route is for you both to seek your own lawyer. This route also involves reaching agreements via lawyers on the various issues of the divorce and for these agreements to be recorded in a parenting plan and a divorce settlement. In order to reach agreements, written proposals can be made and/or a four-way meeting can be scheduled. A four-way meeting is a meeting between both lawyers, you and your partner, with the aim of reaching an agreement.

If it is possible to record the arrangements in a parenting plan and divorce settlement, the divorce proceedings are again in writing (which means no court session) and the court will pronounce the divorce relatively quickly.

Both parties have their own lawyer: court session

If it is not possible to reach an agreement by mutual consent or if agreement has not been reached on all the subjects of the divorce, the third route is to approach the court for a decision. In this route, you and your partner both have your own lawyer. This means that you will both have the opportunity to make requests and make your views known to the court. After a session has taken place at the court, the court will make a decision. You will then receive this decision in writing.

In conclusion

Do you still ask yourself the question “”do I need any assistance with my divorce?”? In short, the answer is yes. If you and/or your partner want to get a divorce, you will need the assistance of a lawyer. You should make sure you are well informed by a lawyer. Do you have any questions?  Please do not hesitate to contact me.


Lise-Milou Lagerwerf

Lise-Milou Lagerwerf


Lise-Milou specialises in family law. Her focus is on (international) divorces.

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