13 April 2022
When you and your partner get divorced, there are many things to consider.
Especially when moving home after divorce. In our practice we get asked with some regularity whether a divorced parent can move (abroad) with the children without first obtaining permission from the other parent of the children. The answer to this question depends greatly on the facts and circumstances of the case.
In practice, it is not uncommon for the main carer to find a new partner. Someone who lives elsewhere in the country or even abroad, several years after divorcing – or even during the divorce proceedings. It is also known that foreigners who reside in the Netherlands temporarily or permanently (e.g. expats), want to move back home after a divorce or want to be re-assigned elsewhere, either in the Netherlands or abroad. There are numerous reasons for moving or emigrating. Former spouses then face the question as to whether the main carer can simply decide to up sticks and move with their child to another town or city, or abroad, against the wishes of the parent left behind.
The answer to this question is NO. If the parent who is not moving has parental authority of the children, he or she will have to give his or her consent. This consent does not only apply to moving with children abroad, but also to moving with children in the Netherlands. If this consent is not given, the other parent can ask a court to give substitute consent. If a parent flouts this requirement, and moves abroad or within the Netherlands, without consent of the court or the other parent, this will be considered child abduction – which is a criminal offence. A parent may not move abroad with the children even within the Netherlands without consent.
A parent who wants to move (abroad) with the children can ask the court for substitute permission. The judge will then make a balancing of interests. Whilst the children’s interests are paramount, there are other relevant interests to consider such as:
Where an ‘expat family’ has come to the Netherlands with the aim of taking up temporary residence in this country, any move of this nature is viewed differently than if it were a matter without international dimensions. So there are many different factors that can affect whether the main carer will obtain substitute consent from a court to move abroad and/or home after the divorce. Each case is judged on its own merits.
If you have any questions about your personal situation after reading this blog, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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