Family Law

Migrating to another country, e.g. for professional purposes, requires quite some organisation, especially when it involves moving a family. When sending an employee abroad, most companies focus on arranging a suitable work permit, ensuring that the employment contract meets all necessary local requirements and helping their employee with finding a suitable accommodation. However, migration also involves other aspects.

Depending on your personal circumstances, the consequences of moving abroad can be significant. As a result of a migration to the Netherlands, Dutch law will apply to various private matters, such as family. By way of illustration two examples.

A Singaporean company is planning to deploy one of its employees in the Netherlands, to run one of its Dutch offices. The employee and his girlfriend move to the Netherlands, and after a few months they plan to get married. A marriage in the Netherlands may have completely different consequences under Dutch law than a marriage in Singapore. In that context, for marriages effected after 1 January 2018, any property acquired after the date of marriage is considered mutual matrimonial property under Dutch law. As a consequence, if the Singaporean couple wishes to divorce at a later stage, the acquired property must be divided equally.

Another example. A Singaporean man who is living in Singapore with its Chinese wife and two children, migrates to the Netherland to start a new job. When his wife suddenly passes away after two years, many questions arise. Does the man (automatically) have sole parental authority over his children under Dutch law? How does the inheritance of the wife unwind if she didn’t draw up a will? And if there is a will according to Singaporean law, can it be acknowledged in the Netherlands? Is this situation at all governed by Dutch law?

And what if the same family was living in the Netherlands and the man wants a divorce? Can he apply for a divorce with a Dutch Court? Is Dutch law applicable to the wife’s petition for child maintenance?

The assistance of Banning International includes supporting individuals who are migrating, or employers placing employees in the Netherlands, with advise on topics governed by family law, such as marriage, prenuptial agreements, inheritance, alimony, parental authority, pension and divorce. Our team will help you understand the (legal) consequences of moving to the Netherlands, to avoid unexpected, or (potentially) undesirable legal consequences.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact Agnes van Wieren.