Here are some practical tips to consider when starting the divorce process.
This may seem like a trite question, but you should take a step back and make sure you really want to start divorce proceedings. Divorce is inevitably an emotional roller coaster and you wouldn't be the first person to regret your decision when it may be too late.
The main difference is between the two is that a divorce lawyer is your sole advisor and acts as your partial advocate during the proceedings. The mediation process is aimed at joint dispute resolution whereby the mediator is impartial. A mediator aims to create an atmosphere in which parties can come to an amicable settlement regarding their divorce in spite of their differences. Important aspects of this process are that both parties engage voluntarily and that all matters discussed between parties are strictly confidential (even if the mediation were to break down). Mediation could save you a long and expensive court battle.
If communication has completely broken down and mediation is therefore not an option, then retaining your own divorce lawyer is a necessity. Hiring a divorce lawyer does not preclude a negotiated settlement. In many cases parties come to an agreement on most matters before the divorce ever comes to court. Your lawyer does the negotiating for you. It may also be that you want advice prior to mediation or a second opinion in ongoing discussions regarding the divorce settlement.
Once you have taken the painful decision to get a divorce, it is important to be practical and collect as much financial information and official papers relevant to your divorce as soon as possible. Think about copying bank statements, pay slips, insurance policies, deeds, mortgage papers, ownership papers of marital property here and abroad, tax returns etc. In some cases parties may start off the process amicably, but later on relations can cool and then it is important not to be dependent on the other party for information.
It is easy to get carried away by your emotions when the knives are out, but (again) take a step back and decide what issues are really important to you. Then work out with your advisors what goals are achievable and decide on a businesslike strategy.
If you have children, then there will always be a bond between you and your spouse. For the sake of the well being of your children you will have to work out a mode of communication and agree on the future care and maintenance of your children. Dutch law now obliges all parents suing for divorce to agree on a parenting plan before proceedings are heard.
How can Bowmer & Nuiten help you?
Our law firm has an experienced team of divorce lawyers and mediators ready to advise you during your divorce. We aim to take as much emotion out of the equation as possible and advise you quickly and fairly as to your options.
If your divorce has international aspects, then it is even more important to seek the advice of a specialist. The English language expatriate desk is run by Dutch divorce lawyer and family law specialist Maria Bowmer. Paul van Lange is our contact person for Mediation.
You can also consult our partner website Dutch Divorce Lawyer for more detailed information on all aspects of divorce in The Netherlands.