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Partnership & Cohabitation in the Netherlands

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Expats who don’t want to get married in the Netherlands may opt for a registered partnership or a cohabitation agreement.

Registered partnership

For couples who want to enjoy the social benefits of marriage, but don't want to have a traditional marriage, it is possible to have a registered partnership. Registered partnership gives the couple essentially the same rights that a married couple might have in the Netherlands.


The key difference in the two comes when a couple in a registered partnership have a child. If the father would like to become the lawful father of the child then he has to declare this at the office of the municipality.

Note that if the couple is married then the husband is automatically designated as the child's lawful father.

Registering a partnership from outside of the Netherlands

A registered partnership granted outside of the Netherlands must be registered within the Netherlands. In order to do so, the relevant documents can be presented and authenticated at the local municipality office. However, note that the rules and regulations regarding the registered partnership in the country of origin must match those of the Netherlands.

Cohabitation agreement

If marriage or a registered partnership do not suit your needs, then a final option would be to make a cohabitation agreement.



Cohabitation agreements are ideal for couples in the Netherlands who live together and wish to share their finances and assets, for example, bank accounts, properties bought, or mortgages. It is common for this agreement, or contract, to be drawn up by a notary, although this is only necessary if the couple wants to benefit from a partner pension scheme.

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