Children better protected after divorce

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The cabinet is taking measures to decrease the number of divorces resulting in courtroom battles . In these cases, children are often not the number one priority, and end up victims, the AD reports.

Couples who are in the midst of a divorce, and are known to be a 'problem family' receive a social worker and a mediator. These have to make sure the divorce does not get out of hand. More money will become available for care workers and a national campaign will encourage people to act with a contested divorce.

These measures are a result of last year's violent death of the brothers Ruben and Julian. They were killed by their father, who was in a contested divorce with their mother.

State secretaries Fred Teeven and Martin van Rijn see this as a time for action, as about 10 percent of divorces end up as courtroom battles, the AD reports. Teeven does admit that contested divorces are not entirely avoidable. "Parents are moved in the first place to precent that a separation gets out of hand and that children become the victims. They are the only ones who can actually stop the battle."

Child ombudsman Marc Dullaert wants to enforce measures to keep children protected as well. He thinks parents who want a divorce must go to obligatory therapy. They must also prepare a parenting plan with the help of a mediator. Dullaert sees the involvement of children in a contested divorce "a form of child abuse."