Marriage and Divorce

Dutch law recognizes three forms of living together or partnership arrangements: marriage, registered partnership and cohabitation agreement.

The Netherlands became the first country in the world to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry with the same rights as heterosexual couples. In the same way, gay couples may enter into a registered partnership.

To register for marriage, registered partnership or a cohabitation agreement, the law requires that one of the partners is a Duch citizen or holds a valid residence permit to stay in the Netherlands and have a minimum income of 120 percent of the minimum wage level. If you wish to immigrate to live with someone or to marry, you have to be over the age of 21, may have to take a language and integration test.

Conditions and Exceptions:

Persons entering to marry or form a partnership with Dutch residents, holders of long-stay residence permits, or with asylum status, must pass an integration test. Granting of a visa (MMV) or leave to enter the country may depend on completion of this test before entering the Netherlands.

To prevent marriages or partnerships of convenience, non-Dutch nationals must have a long-stay residence permit or asylum status, and may need to apply for permission from the IND. Couples wishing to have a religious service must have the civil ceremony first, as religious weddings have no standing in Dutch law. For both services you will need to provide documentation you are free to marry. Married or registered partners may use each other's surname, or in combination with their own if they choose to do so. However, official documents have to show the person's own name.


There are major differences between the types of relationship agreements when it comes to having children. In law, a child born of the marriage between a man and a woman has both spouses as its parents. This is not the case where two women or two men are married, or the couple -either same sex or different sexes - has entered into a registered partnership.


In the event the partners decide to end the relationship, a marriage can only be dissolved by court. A registered partnership can be terminated by the partners themselves. Legal separations are also possible. When the split is amicable, the couple can hire a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) to act as a neutral mediator to divide joint property. Difficulties and disputes can be overcome when people discuss their problems openly and honestly.

Mediation is a way to solve a dispute by making a resolution with the assistance of a mediator. There are three key characteristics for mediation

The participants agree to confidentiality before beginning. That means solely that any option mentioned in mediation can not be used in a legal procedure unless parties decide to put this resolution in an agreement. contract. At the beginning of the mediation parties and the mediator enter into a mediation agreement: an agreement to attempt to resolve the dispute by means of mediation. The informal and flexible mediation process commences after signing this mediation agreement. The mediator does not force an outcome on the parties. Rather people involved decide themselves how to work out their differences. The outcome is recorded in an agreement, which finalizes the mediation process.

Mediation is not suited for all parties. Mediation is less successful where:

1. Equality is missing between the parties and one of the parties cannot adequately represent itself or, alternatively, obtain legal assistance, or 2. Where there is a lack of interest in a future relationship between the parties, whereby one of the parties is either not interested in conciliation, wishes to employ delay tactics or wishes to set legal precedence or obtain an award on principal.

Requirements Mediation will work only if the following conditions are present: