Divorcing in Belgium

1. How can we divorce in Belgium and where?

In Belgium individuals can divorce by mutual agreement or if one of the parties refuses to divorce upon te request of the other spouse.

If the spouses decide to divorce by mutual agreement they have to make a contract.

Only if there is real estatate involved the assistance of a lawyer is neccesary. The contract need to provide all aspects of their assets, also all the intrests of the mutual minors needs to be provided.

If a spouse disagree about the divorce the other spouse can start a divorce with a petition.

Then the procedure will be in front of a judge. No guilt has to be proven, but they need to live separated for at least 12 months.
The spouse that makes the request, doesn’t have to prove any guilt.

2. What are the most common reasons that espouses may invoke?

If there is a mutual agreement they don’t have to give any reasons. If there is a request in court one has to prove that living together became impossible. The reason to have a very quick divorce is based on adultery or hits and wounds.

3. How long does it take to divorce in Belgium?

By mutual agreement it takes about 4months. In court it will take normally 6 to 12 months. If it is based on adultery or hits and wounds approximate 4 months.

4. What types or evidence can be used when divorcing?

All kind of documents can be used, cross examinations, reports, psychological assessments. Also reports prepared by private detectives and witnesses.

5. What other family life aspects are settled once with the divorce

When divorcing by mutual agreement it is necessary that parental authority in case of minor children, the establishment of residence of the children, establishing the right of the other spouse to keep in touch with the children, the alimony concerning the children has to be arranged.

If it is upon request then the court that will make a decision (if the espouses don’t make an agreement).

6. Is presence necessary when divorcing?

When divorcing with mutual agreement the both persons has to appear before the notary public (if real estate is involved) to sign the agreement.

The both spouses have to appear once before the court .

– When divorce on request in court the spouses can be represented by an attorney. However if the court needs to decide about the special family aspects during pleadings the spouses need to be present.

7. What kind of temporary measures concerning the children can be ordered during the procedure?

During the divorce case the court may order temporary measures regarding the children’s residence, the right of the spouse to keep in touch with the children and the alimony

8. How can the parent living abroad keep in touch with his child?

A parent living in an other state can keep in touch with the children by visiting them at their residence or even sometimes by having the children over and of course via modern communication channels.

9. In case a parent lives in an other EU state is that an obstacle for joint custody?

A parent living in an other EU state is not an obstacle when applying for joint custody.

10. How can a divorce resolution issued in Belgium be acknowledged in another EU state?

Once a divorce resolution is final the parties may request or will receive final judgements that can be used in EU states.


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