20 June 2010

Moving after the divorce: with or without the kids?

By Susan Meijler

Clients regularly ask whether they would need the agreement of their divorced spouse, should they want to move. The answer is rather complex and always dependent on the circumstances and facts of the divorce.

In practice

Be it years after the divorce or whilst it is still ongoing, the residential parent may happen to get involved with a new partner, who lives in a different part of the country or lives and works abroad. It may also happen that, after years of residence in The Netherlands, an expat parent decides to return to his or her country of origin or gets posted to a different country.

There are many more reasons for a change of residence and once the move is on the cards, former spouses having children together are faced with the difficult question, whether the residential parent can simply uproot and move the children to a different city or country, often against the will of the other parent.


Well, the answer is no, whenever the non-residential parent has shared custody. In this case, an explicit agreement of the parent who would be left behind is necessary. The parent wishing to move may approach the court, should the non-residential parent deny his or her agreement to the move. In such a case, the court would evaluate the best interest of the child(ren), also taking into account other circumstances.

Evaluation of the different interests

The age, social contacts, specific needs of the child(ren), the intensity and quantity of contact to the other parent, ways of safeguarding the contact to the non-residential parent after the move, the need to move and other factors will all be carefully analysed by the court. The circumstances of an expat family, who has always been on the move and where a further move is to be expected, will most probably be evaluated differently than those of a family with no international ties. Since no two situations are the same, a ruling in this sense will always be tailor made for the specific situation.

Further information

Please contact me should any of the above aspects be relevant to your circumstances and if you would like to get a better understanding of your situation.

Susan Meijler

Susan Meijler


Susan Meijler is a well-experienced and versatile lawyer at GMW lawyers.

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