Children and divorce, what do you need to arrange?

Family law

Children and divorce, what do you need to arrange?

Often in the context of divorce, the same or similar questions are asked to lawyers. In this series of articles “The most frequently asked divorce questions” our family law attorneys will answer some of these questions.


Children and divorce, what should you arrange?


A divorce is an intense period, during which all sorts of things need to be arranged. Especially when children are involved. But what exactly needs to be arranged for the children?


First, of course, it is important that at some point the children are informed about the divorce. If you can, it is important to tell the children together. Choose a time when you are both still living in the home and not just when one parent has left. Tell them together so that the children can see that their parents are still their parents together and therefore a unit. In doing so, it is also important to tell all the children together, so that you prevent one child from hearing the news before a sibling. Keep in mind the age of the children. In addition, check that the children get the message and understand what is going to happen. For example, that mom and dad will no longer live together in the house.

Most importantly, parents should emphasize that the children are not to blame for the divorce. It often happens that children think it is their fault that mom and dad are splitting up.


Besides telling the children that you are getting divorced, a lot of practical and legal matters concerning the children need to be arranged.
Naturally, you will need to discuss together who the children will have primary residence with and when the children will be with one parent and when with the other parent; in short, how will the care and upbringing tasks be divided? The determination of the main residence also has fiscal consequences, as the parent in question receives various benefits from the tax authorities. Here it can be very wise to choose a specific parent because the income position of the parent can also affect the amount of the benefits.

“What needs to be arranged for the children?”

Of course, the costs of the children must also be considered – how will you handle them? Some parents operate a child account, from which all expenses on behalf of the children are paid. The children’s account then receives the child allowance and benefits received by the parents, as well as amounts transferred to it by the parents. Another option, of course, is for one parent to pay child support to the other parent.

Every situation is different and thus in every divorce there must be a thorough discussion and calculation of what is most convenient or wise in that specific case regarding the division of the costs of the children. Of course you should take into account the fiscal consequences.


Not only should be discussed how the children’s affairs will be arranged, it should also be recorded. In case of a divorce it is necessary that these agreements are recorded in a parenting plan. In fact, the law states that the court cannot consider the substance of a petition for divorce (between parent with minor children) until the parents have drawn up a parenting plan, both signed it and filed it with the court.
However, a parenting plan does not succeed in all cases. The court will then first make an extensive check to see if it is not possible to come up with a parenting plan after all. Only if it appears that it really will not succeed will the court consider whether the request for divorce can be granted.
In short, this does show how important it is that agreements about the children are made and recorded in the parenting plan. After all, if the parenting plan is not there, the court may not even consider the request for divorce!

“What is included in a parenting plan?”

But what is included in such a parenting plan, what should be agreed upon? This, too, follows from the law. A parenting plan must in any case include agreements on how the parents divide the care and upbringing tasks, how thus the access to one parent and the other parent is shaped, but also in what way the parents inform and consult each other on the important matters concerning the development of the children and possibly the assets of the children and finally how they will divide the costs of care and upbringing of the children.

A parenting plan therefore includes a number of articles by default on these topics. So with whom do the children have primary residence and how the care of the children will be divided. The parenting plan also always includes how the costs of the children will be divided: with a child account or through payment of child support?

Furthermore, other, mainly practical matters are often arranged in the parenting plan. For example: what do the parents agree on if one of the parents wants to move. Who holds the children’s passports or identity cards? But also things like: who will take the children to the dentist or the hairdresser? Are the children allowed tattoos?

These are all things that can be included in the parenting plan. It is up to the parents themselves to decide how extensive and specific they want to include the agreements in a parenting plan. But since you don’t know what the future will look like, it is better to set out agreements clearly for everyone. This can prevent conflicts from arising over the implementation of the agreements.

Do you still have questions?

The lawyers at TEN will always consult with you about the best way to lay down the arrangements for you and your children in a parenting plan. We strive for a solution that does justice to the interests of all parties involved and certainly the interests of the children. We have lawyers who have been trained as specialists in family law and have extensive experience in guiding you through the separation process and all the consequences that this has for both of you and the children. They are therefore well informed about all issues that arise in a divorce and can advise you in the right way, so that you and your children can face a future that suits you best.

The most frequently asked divorce questions

Often in the context of divorce, the same or similar questions are asked to lawyers. In this series of articles “The most frequently asked divorce questions” our family law attorneys will answer some of these questions.

If you have a question you would like to see answered in the next ” The most frequently asked divorce questions”, please let us know!

Written by

Anouk van Eijkeren

lawyer & mediator
family law, mediation