All you need to know about seeking a divorce in the Netherlands

Seeking a divorce in the Netherlands: now what?

It’s not an easy topic to talk about and it affects many of us every year. This can become even more stressful in the Netherlands. How does it work here? Will it be legal in my home country? Don’t panic, we’ve got you covered. So, what do you need to do if you want to file for a divorce in the Netherlands? Here’s everything you need to know when going through the proceedings and seeking a divorce in the Netherlands.

Filing for divorce in the Netherlands

Going through the procedure of filing for divorce is easier than you may think, however you do need to make some preparations that we will go into in a minute. If you are married, you can get divorced via the district court here. There are three ways to choose your separation: complete divorce, legal separation (still married but living apart) and then the dissolution of the marriage which comes after the legal separation).

To do this you need to meet a few conditions:

  • You must be legally married (well, duh, or what’s the point)
  • One of you must be a resident in the Netherlands
  • You must have valid documents

Seeking a divorce in the Netherlands?


Valid divorce documents:

When you are planning to divorce in the Netherlands and it goes through the courts, you may be asked to provide the following documents.

  • Residency documents
  • Valid ID
  • Income and other finances and property
  • Your pre-nuptial agreement if you have one
  • A parenting plan and other additional important info about your children

What you need to arrange when getting divorced in the Netherlands

Once you have decided to seek a divorce, you then need to make preparations for this by drawing up a settlement if you wish. This means that you need to produce a document listing every agreement that you have made together about your life after divorce. This includes the arrangements between you and your children, your property, your pension and other similar agreements. This will be sorted via your lawyer or you can do it yourself. Once this is done you can submit it to the court.

This can be possible out of court, but if only one of you wants the divorce, or if you have children under the age of 18, then this must be resolved via the courts.

How much does it cost to get divorced in the Netherlands?

It’s no secret that getting a divorce isn’t cheap. There are plenty of things that you need to pay for, that can have a hefty price tag attached. Just like a marriage, a divorce can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be and of course, the price would vary depending on how complicated the case is. If you need to seek a good lawyer is the divorce is messy, then this will cost a lot of money.

In some cases, some of these costs can be covered by legal aid, so be sure to check this out beforehand.

Things you will need to pay for:

  • Legal fees (lawyer)
  • Court fees
  • Mediation fees (optional)
  • Partner maintenance (if your partner cannot support themselves following the divorce)

Seeking a divorce in the Netherlands? It ain’t going to come cheap!


What will happen financially after divorcing in the Netherlands?

There are a few things to consider financially after your divorce. One of these is what we stated earlier about partner maintenance. If your partner cannot support themselves after the divorce, you are required to make maintenance payments to them. This will all be sorted as part of the divorce proceedings. Tax arrangements also need to be made and you will also have to sort your shared pension and make arrangements in order to share it, so you need to be aware that your pension will change when you divorce.

What happens if I have children and I’m getting divorced in the Netherlands?

As part of the divorce proceedings, as stated earlier, if you have children under the age of 18, then you must sort some kind of arrangement through a parenting plan, which is signed by the both of you. This not only helps you, but it helps the children that are affected by the divorce. Unless the courts say otherwise, both of you have shared responsibility of the children. This includes both regular parental responsibilities and financial matters to do with the child (child maintenance/kinderbijslag). The child benefit will be paid to the parent who has that child in their home. However, if you are co-parenting, you can arrange to have it shared between you.


What should a parenting plan entail?

It should highlight what both you and your partner are going to do about the upbringing of your children. This includes the finance to bring up the child, the care arrangement and who will be looking after the child and also how you will decide on important decisions for your child (such as moving away, where they should go to school etc). It should include other things like ground rules such as what time the child should go to bed. This is important as it provides structure and prevents any disagreements down the line.

seeking a divorce in the Netherlands
Take your child/ren into consideration when seeking a divorce in the Netherlands.


Will my child get any choices in the divorce process?

Ensuring that your child has some sort of say is really important. The court will ask any child over the age of 12 about the living arrangements etc, to get their opinion. They will be called into court to share their thoughts about the divorce and it will give the court a clearer idea about what is going on. They don’t have to do this if they don’t want to, but it’s there if they want to have a say. This will be taken into account in the final decisions made. This does not go for children under the age of 12, as they are seen as not old enough to make a clear and personal decision yet.


We can’t come to an agreement, now what?

Divorce mediation in the Netherlands

If you cannot come to an agreement with your partner about the important issues, then a mediator can help you both come to an agreement. Many couples need to seek extra help, so don’t be worried. There is a hella lot of emotion tied up when getting divorced and for whatever reason, it could be made difficult to get on depending on what caused this breakdown. The reasons why some people tend to go down this route is because it helps resolve the issue and tries to reduce any conflict. It’s basically professional help tailored around both of you.

Note: When you go through mediation your court case will be suspended until you come to some sort of arrangement.

Registering your divorce at your municipality

Once the court has issued the divorce, you then have to go to your municipality in which you registered your marriage and have it changed. This is something which you can get your lawyer to do on your behalf, or you can go and do it yourself. Don’t forget to tell them your address change too, which may likely happen if you are divorcing your partner.

So, there you have it – all you need to know about seeking a divorce in the Netherlands.

Do you have any other important info about seeking a divorce in the Netherlands? Leave a comment.

Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.


  1. Dear Mrs Brown, I’d like to thank you for the broadly explanatory article about divorce. Currently I live abroad of The Netherlands, it has been difficult to find information about the legal aid you mentioned in your article. Could you please inform me where I can find that information?
    Kind regards

    • Go to and then type in ‘scheiden’ in the box and then your zip code and then choose the second option (funded aid- addition).

  2. I liked how you mentioned that a mediator can help you and your spouse come to an agreement during a divorce. My wife and I are struggling with our marriage and we are wondering how we are going to split up our kids if we get a divorce. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should talk to a mediator if we cannot decide.

  3. Hello all, I like to file a divorce to my husband but we’re still living together but he has a Mental problem which make me so confused I’m suffering his bad behaviour and I don’t like to have a custody of my daughter might my daughter will be affected of his bad attitude.
    He always smoke marijuana everyday and once he is stress he lose control which end up in a big drama situation he always like telling me or even showing us how he hurting himself then if I would say please don’t do that Infront of our daughter and then he will confronted of me that I only care our daughter not to him. He is really difficult person which killing me softly.
    I hope someone could help me out. I’m living in the Netherlands for 5yrs and marriage in the Philippines.


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