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04-10-'13

Attendance of vFAS congress: ‘The divorced parent of the future’

On the 12th of September, Natalie Nikolina and Evelien Verhagen travelled to Madurodam (The Hague) to attend the yearly congress of vFAS, which addressed the theme: ‘The divorced parent of the future’.
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Central to this congress was the voice of the child in divorce proceedings. The participants had the opportunity to converse with children of divorced parents in two sessions. Discussion concerned, for example the definition of the ‘interests of the child’. The children were given the opportunity to share their own experiences regarding their position in the divorce process and which improvements they wished could be made. Between these conversations, four lectures were held by Rob van Coolwijk (chairman of vFAS), Phyleen Mattaar (chairman of Villa Pinedo), Justine van Lawick (child psychiatrist at the Lorentzshuis) and Marc Dullart (child ombudsman) respectively. Van Coolwijk proposed the development of a new institute, the children’s lawyer.

Foto vFAS-symposiumAlthough Dullart did not reject this idea, he believed that increasing the usage of ‘special court curators’ was a more appropriate solution in the short term. Mattaar talked about the significance of her own parents’ divorce for her and highlighted the ways in which Villa Pinedo helps children to deal with their feelings about the divorce of their parents. Following this, Van Lawick discussed ‘Parenthood after divorce and the pressure on children’,  which tries to tackle the destructive patterns of fighting parents by means of group therapy. The most important precondition for attending this therapy is that the parents should suspend all judicial proceedings. The afternoon session was presented by Frenk van der Linden (freelance journalist), who shared his own experiences as a child of divorced parents.

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04-10-'13

Workshop UCERF on 2nd of September 2013

On Monday 2nd September, UCERF came together at the Molengraaff Institute for a workshop. During the morning session, they were also joined by practitioners (judges and lawyers/mediators). The researchers gave presentations concerning ongoing (research) projects and the current developments in the area of family law. The invited practitioners highlighted a number of questions, which gave rise to a lively and informative exchange of ideas. After having lunch together, the UCERF researchers watched the documentary ‘Sisters in Law’, which was the 2005 winner of the IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam) prize. The documentary followed a judge and a prosecutor from Cameroon who dealt with cases of violence against women. Although the film was intense, it provided interesting issues for discussion afterwards.

 
 

04-10-'13

Foreign researcher Pablo Quinzá Redondo (Valencia) at UCERF in April-July 2013

Pablo Quinzá Redondo of the University of Valencia won a scholarship to have a three-month research stay at our centre, between April and July 2013. These were his experiences:
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“My name is Pablo Quinzá Redondo. I am a researcher at the Faculty of Law of the University of Valencia, currently working on my PhD project under the supervision of Dr. Carlos Esplugues Mota (University of Valencia, Faculty of Law: Private International Law Department). The topic of my research is ‘Matrimonial Property Law in Europe’.

 

In the summer of 2012, I performed a research stay at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg. It was here that I discovered that there was a possibility to work with Prof. Katharina Boele-Woelki, a well-known specialist in my field. I decided to apply for one of the scholarships offered by her, and was delighted when I was offered the chance to spend three months at UCERF.

 

My research stay at UCERF has been really positive and I would recommend it to everybody who is working in the field of family law. Firstly, UCERF offers excellent working facilities (computer, library card etc.). In addition, you have the opportunity to work in an atmosphere which is really conducive to research, having the chance to share and discuss your ideas with Prof. Katharina Boele-Woelki and all her team. Last, but not least, you will feel really well integrated, since everyone at UCERF is helpful and kind to visitors.”

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04-10-'13

7th symposium of UCERF on the 13th of April 2013

On Thursday 18th April 2013, the seventh UCERF symposium on the current developments in family law was held at Utrecht University.
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The afternoon was opened by Prof. Katharina Boele-Woelki, after which Advocate-General of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, Frans Langemeijer, gave a presentation about ‘The Supreme Court and family law’. Following this, Prof. Frederik Swennen spoke about ‘Third person’s right to contact with children in Belgium law’. Subsequently, Gordon Doull, from ABN AMRO MeesPierson, informed us of the ways in which parents can help with the purchase of their children’s house. After the coffee break, Dr. Esther Kluwer spoke about the wellbeing of the children of divorced parents. Following this Dr. Wibo van Rossum detailed the law regarding the everyday life of transnational families. Finally, the afternoon was closed by Lisette Frohn, who gave her opinion on international divorce. The public was subsequently given the opportunity to ask questions to the speakers, and to make remarks and comments. After the discussion, everyone was invited to enjoy a drink and reflect upon the afternoon’s symposium.

To view photos from the afternoon’s symposium, please click here.

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04-10-'13

Foreign researcher Maximilian Strutz (Cologne) at UCERF in December-February 2013

Maximilian Strutz of the University of Cologne also had a three-month research stay at UCERF, between December 2012 and February 2013  This was a major success:
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“My name is Maximilian Strutz and I am a PhD researcher at the University of Cologne in Germany. The topic of my dissertation is ‘The control of marriage settlement in the Netherlands and in Germany’. Since my dissertation focuses significantly on the Netherlands, it was logical that I would also perform research in the Netherlands itself. However, it was a coincidence that I was asked to work at UCERF. A colleague saw Prof. Boele Woelki’s offer of a research stay, and pointed this out to me. In view of my subsequent experiences, I am extremely happy this happened.

 

With the support of Prof. Boele-Woelki and her employees during my stay in Utrecht between December 2012 and February 2013, I was able to complete a large part of my dissertation, to answer open questions and to discover new information on my theme. I even wrote an article concerning the explanation of marriage settlements with Evelien Verhagen, a PhD researcher at Utrecht, which has since been published in WPNR. A big success!

 

Max StrutzDutch and German people really do differ a lot. I draw this conclusion not only from my research into the marital property law in Germany and the Netherlands, but also from my experiences working at a German university and at UCERF. It can be seen in simply the way people address one another. In Germany, it is common to address someone formally, using their title and surname, while Dutch people do not do this and therefore there is less distance between the people (this is my personal impression anyway). This was also the case at UCERF: very uncomplicated and direct!

 

In short: I would definitely return for second time if I had the opportunity!

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