There is still much unclear about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit for family law. There is a lot of EU legislation in the field of family law. For example about where you can divorce or start an maintenance procedure. But also, which court decides whether you can move with your children to the Netherlands or, in the opposite situation, to the United Kingdom, if your former partner does not give permission for this. At the time the United Kingdom is leaving the EU without a withdrawal deal, the EU rules on family law will lose its force. The UK court will then determine on the basis of its own law whether it will handle the case and, as a rule, apply its own law.

The British government has indicated that it intends to incorporate current EU law into UK law. However, future changes to EU regulations will not be implemented, so there will nevertheless be a difference between EU and UK law.

In particular, the loss of EU rules on divorce and parental responsibility (Brussels II-bis) is seen as a loss for cross-border family law, involving EU Member States and the United Kingdom. This is likely to lead to an increase in jurisdictional incidents, disputing whether the case should be dealt with by the UK court or by the Dutch court (or a judge from another EU member state). If both partners are Dutch, it will still be possible to divorce in the Netherlands on the basis of EU law.

Furthermore, the judicial decisions of UK courts are currently recognized in the European Union without complex proceedings and the bailiff in the Netherlands can also enforce a UK judgment here. In the case of a no-deal Brexit, automatic recognition and enforcement is no longer guaranteed, as EU law no longer applies in the United Kingdom, and with it the reciprocity of accepting each other's judicial decisions has been cancelled. An EU court decision can only be enforced in the UK if the UK court will recognize the decision.

Any questions about Family Law?
Please contact Sandra (S.L.A.) Verburgt

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