Rules of the law in case of divorce

For parents who separate, rules apply according to the law about the care and responsibility for the children.

Parents remain responsible together

In the Caribbean Netherlands, parents often both keep parental authority of their children after a divorce. This means that they are both responsible for care and education. Children and both parents have the right to contact and information. Moreover, the parents must continue to make all important decisions about the children together. Sometimes the judge decides, if the situation so requires, that one parent is given parental authority.

Information and consultation

The parents must give each other information about important matters of the children. For example about how the children are doing at school or how their health is going. We call this the right to information.

In important decisions, a parent should ask the other parent for their opinion. Consider, for example, a decision about an important medical procedure. This is called the right to consultation.

Division of care and education

If both parents had parental authority of the children before the divorce, they sometimes also keep parental authority after the divorce. They must agree with each other how they divide care and education. If they are unable to make agreements, they can ask the judge to make a decision about the distribution of care.

Contact arrangement

There are situations where only one parent has parental authority. The parent who has authority is called the parent with parental authority. The other parent is called the parent without parental authority.

The parents determine a parental visitation agreement together or can ask Youth care CN for help. A visitation agreement states when and how often the parent without parental authority sees the child.

If the parents cannot reach an agreement together, the judge can determine a settlement. Sometimes there may also be a visitation agreement for parents who share parental authority.

If it is harmful to the child to continue to see the parent without parental authority, the judge can also decide that this is no longer allowed. The judge only does this for certain reasons:

  • If the interaction with the parent without parental authority has serious disadvantages for the mental or physical development of the children.
  • If the parent without parental authority is deemed incapable of interacting with the children.
  • If the children are 12 years or older and have serious objections themselves to dealing with the parent who does not have parental authority.
  • If there are other reasons why it is not good for the children to interact with the parent who does not have parental authority.

Parental authority with one parent

If one parent has parental authority of the children, the other parent can ask the judge for access to the children. This occurs, for example, if the parents were not married and have not arranged shared parental authority.

Parental authority from two parents to one parent

After the divorce, one of the parents can ask the judge to award parental authority to him or her alone. The judge only approves this if it appears that the children are facing serious parenting problems and if the chance of the situation improving is small.

The parent who is awarded parental authority may determine where the children will live. If one of the parents wants to change the parental authority arrangement later, this parent must go to court again.