When is Dutch law applicable in case of divorce - Part 2

Paid partnership

In Part 1 of When is Dutch law applicable in case of divorce, we addressed the application of the Dutch Matrimonial Property Law on the division or settlement of property between spouses in international divorce.

This is of special interest for expats in divorce. The law applicable to alimony can be a different law altogether from the law that applies to the Matrimonial Property Regime.

In order to determine which law applies to alimony, sources other than The Hague Convention on Matrimonial Property of 1978 must be consulted.

Child maintenance

Based on The Hague Protocol 2007, the law of the usual country of residence of the person entitled to receiving maintenance is applicable for determining child maintenance.

If a Dutch judge receives such a request and the children live in the Netherlands, child maintenance will be determined according to Dutch law.

Spousal maintenance

Based on the protocol mentioned above, in the case of spousal maintenance, the law of the usual country of residence of the person entitled to receiving maintenance applies.

There is, however, one exception. If the person obliged to pay spousal maintenance contests this law and the marriage of the parties has a closer tie to another country, then the law of that country applies. The protocol’s author primarily considered the last country in which the parties had a common residence.

Numerous factors play a role, such as the location where the marriage took place, the length of residence of the spouses in the different countries, their nationality, etc.

This possibility to exception can lead to lengthy discussions in international divorce, especially for expats that often have a closer tie to the country of their common nationality.

Being well informed is essential

Be well informed when it comes to maintenance payments. The differences between countries are enormous, especially where spousal maintenance is concerned. The length of the maintenance obligation differs, as well as the amount.

Marjet van Yperen-Groenleer is specialised in Family Law at GMW Advocaten / Legal Expat Desk. For more information, please comment below or contact her directly.

Marjet Groenleer


Marjet Groenleer

Marjet Groenleer is an attorney-at-law and associate partner at GMW lawyers in The Hague. Her focus is on (international) divorces, in particular the financial aspects thereof. She is a member...

Read more



Leave a comment