Law affects may aspects of our lives. According to Nonet, Selznick, and Kagan (2017), there are various types of law, which include criminal, international, public, administrative, constitutional, corporate, private, and family law. Family law is a legal area of practice that deals with issues affecting family relationships, such as divorce, child custody, adaption, prenuptial agreement, emancipation, paternity, and marital property (Nonet, Selznick, & Kagan, 2017). Advocates majoring on family law can represent their clients in a family court proceeding, or draft legal documents involving the court proceedings or other family-related laws (Nonet, Selznick, & Kagan, 2017). Different states have the liberty of determining practical formal requirements for marriage, which include legal capacity and age, appropriate rules and procedures involving divorce, and other vital family law matters.
Divorce issues are very common in most family cases. Some of the reasons that can lead to divorce among couples include adultery cases, domestic violence, personal disputes, financial challenges, or other serious crimes committed by the partners. In a case where a couple wishes to get divorced, following certain proceedings are vital to ensure its successful turnout. The steps include petition, hearing, involving child protection authorities, decree, grounds for divorce, appeal, injunction, and collaborative divorce.
A divorce case commences upon filling a petition with a proficient district court. A bailiff serves the petition to the other party. Servicing the petition notifies the opposing party that he/she has six weeks to respond (Stark, 2017). Only the lawyer is allowed to submit the response. Dutch law encourages merging of all aspects of the divorce, so that visitation and custody rights of the children, partition of marital property, and alimony can be jointed in a single petition (Stark, 2017). In an event where the petition does not cover all the aspects regarding the divorce, the defendant has an option of filing a counter-petition.
After the written exchanges from both parties, the court will organize a hearing with the intention of either attempting to solve the outstanding disagreements or to collect adequate information necessary to make a ruling (Stark, 2017). In complex situations, more than one hearing takes places, and the magistrate or judge instruct both parties to provide more detailed information before the next hearing takes place (Stark, 2017). However, the courts recently formulated new rules to minimize the number of necessary hearings. Before the first hearing, the court requests both parties to provide truthful information regarding their marital property.
Involving Child Protection Authorities
Some cases are beyond the scope of the court. If there is a major concern affecting the children, and the court senses that the wellbeing of the young ones might be at stake, it can choose to suspend the case and request the child protection authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on the welfare of the children (Stark, 2017). As a result, the investigation by the authority might delay the proceedings by approximately six to nine months. In such circumstances, the court will validate the divorce, but suspend any rulings concerning the young ones.
A divorce case will be formal within six months, prior to the first petition. Once the court renders the divorce decree, it becomes valid for another six months. It is expected that within the six months period after the decree, both parties must register with the Dutch Civil Register in the exact municipality where their initial marriage took place, in order to make the divorce formal (Cowley, 2018). In the case where the marriage took place outside the Netherlands, the Foreign Register located at the Hague must register the divorce (Cowley, 2018). If both parties cooperate by agreeing to record the divorce, the registration of the decree takes place within a few days and the annulment is formalized (Cowley, 2018). In a scenario where there is lack of cooperation of one party due to financial or emotional reasons, the non-cooperative party must observe the three-month appeal term before registration of the divorce by the other party (Cowley, 2018). Failure to register the divorce within six months results in the invalidity of the decree, therefore, both parties will still be considered married.
Grounds for Divorce
In the Netherlands, the grounds for divorce include a situation where the marriage has irreversibly broken down due to irreconcilable differences. The court does not solve such issues, which means that cases of the divorce appeal are very rare or unsuccessful, including those involving religious grounds (Anitha, Patel, Handa, &Jahangir, 2016). The Dutch system does not determine the party, which is responsible for the divorce (Anitha et al., 2016). Additionally, misconducts, such as adultery or domestic violence do not influence the outcome of the divorce.
Some individuals may prefer appealing. I such a case, the court covers appeals and all pending issues affecting the divorce within three months, the waits for the ruling of the Civil Appeal Court (Anitha et al., 2016). The court then presides over the divorce petition.
Injunction Proceedings for Interim Measures
In some cases, temporary procedures are essential during the divorce proceedings. Such dealings may include interim visitation rights of the children and temporary maintenance (Eekelaar, 2017). The parties’ initiative to request for temporary procedures during the divorce proceedings can bring special injunction proceedings (Eekelaar, 2017). Within four to six weeks of appealing an injunction, the parties can receive the judgement (Eekelaar, 2017). In such as case, the verdict in the injunction does not affect the final proceedings of the divorce (Eekelaar, 2017). However, in most cases, it is normally a good pointer of how the court will judge, if the conditions remain the same, when the parties present the divorce in the court. Injunction proceedings are mostly common in cases where both parties fail to cooperate.
Collaborative Divorce/ Joint Petition
Joint petition is a form of antagonistic divorce. In cases where both parties come to a unified agreement regarding the divorce through mutual agreement or mediation, the court can agree to a joint petition involving both parties (Liefaard and Vonk, 2016). The courts will then grant the divorce within a short period of a few weeks of the petition. In this case, hearings are not required, though some courts may take an initiative of inviting the children of both parties, who are above 12 years, to hear the arrangement made by both parents on their care and visitation (Liefaard & Vonk, 2016). A collaborative divorce is, therefore, both time saving and cost effective.
One of the cases that is very common in family law is divorce. A divorce involves legal and formal separation of two married individuals. Therefore, the steps of handling a divorce proceeding include filing a petition, hearing, involving child protection authorities, issuing a degree, setting grounds for divorce, appealing, injunction proceedings for interim measures, and a collaborative divorce or joint petition. However, the parties involved can make the process easier by considering a joint petition.
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Anitha, S., Patel, P., Handa, R., & Jahangir, S. (2016). Emerging issues for international family law part 1: Transnational marriage abandonment as a form of domestic violence. Family Law Journal, 46(10), 1247-1252.
Cowley, C. (2018). Review of Brake E. and Ferguson L. (eds.): Philosophical foundations of children’s and family law. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 21(3), 759-761.
Eekelaar, J. (2017). Family law and personal life. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Liefaard, T., & Vonk, M. (2016). The rights of the child in the Netherlands: A family law perspective. In The Rights of the Child in a Changing World (pp. 313-330). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Nonet, P., Selznick, P., & Kagan, R. A. (2017). Law and society in transition: Toward responsive law. London, UK: Routledge.
Stark, B. (2017). International family law: an introduction. London. UK: Routledge.