30 January 2012

More new developments in international family law!

By Ryanne van Manen

It looks as if there is no end to the continual stream of changes in national and international family law.

Recent changes in the law

In addition, the Central Authority lost its monopoly position with respect to child abduction cases on 1 January 2012. The new maintenance regulations and the new Child Protection Convention came into force for ’new’ disputes a short while ago (see my article: Changes in international family law).

Book 10 of the Dutch Civil Code

One drastic change in the law is the implementation of Book 10 of the Dutch Civil Code. This part of the Civil Code focuses on private international law in a general sense, and is primarily a codification of various existing regulations governing international private law. This is certainly not limited to international family law: it is also important with respect to company law, employment law, property law, contract law and many more.

Significant change

I would like to bring the most significant change in international divorce law to your attention in this web log: this is the implementation of Book 10 Article 56 of the Civil Code. This article states that if a petition for divorce is filed in the Netherlands, the question of whether a divorce can be granted is answered on the basis of Dutch law as a general rule, unless the parties have agreed otherwise. A so-called three-stage rocket was in force in the past, in which the parties’ nationality and habitual residence were major factors in determining the applicable law.

From now on, however, Dutch law will apply to divorce petitions filed by e.g.: married expatriates seeking a divorce, even if both spouses hold different joint nationality. Apart from a few minor changes, the regulations in other areas of family law will basically remain the same. The regulations have now been incorporated into one single legal code instead of forming a tangle of different minor laws. However, the prime consideration in this respect is that EU regulations and international treaties will continue to have priority over Book 10 of the Dutch Civil Code. If an issue is provided for in a regulation or treaty, Book 10 of the Civil Code will not apply.

If you would like to find out more about Book 10 of the Civil Code or other developments in the field of national and international family law, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Ryanne van Manen

Ryanne van Manen


Ryanne van Manen works as a lawyer in the family and inheritance law practice group.

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