Family law: descent law, relationship property law and maintenance law

Familie fotoportret, foto: Charisse Kenion via Unsplash

Descent law

Descent law determines who is the legal parent of a child. Four UCERF researchers focus on descent law. In her PhD research, Laureen Hu focuses on a fundamental reconsideration of Dutch descent law on the basis of a legal theoretical and philosophical framework. Sheniel Cameron analyses the child’s best interest in establishing and breaking ties with the unmarried father in Surinamese descent law. Lisette ten Haaf focuses her research on the legal position of future and unborn life. How can the, yet unconceived, future child be given shape in the law? She is also interested in questions raised by new reproductive technologies. Wendy Schrama has published about the position of unmarried fathers and the right to parentage information in surrogacy cases.

Relationship property law

Relationships have many legal consequences. The most important consequences are regulated in family law. The law on property relations and maintenance law are subjects that are of interest to the legislator; recently, the matrimonial property law has been amended and the right to partner maintenance has also been substantially modified by new legislation. Social changes have provided the catalyst for the legislator to take action. However, the fundamental question remains as to whether the way in which family law now deals with relationships is still up to date.

In her research, Wendy Schrama focuses on the question of whether the way in which relationship law is now structured in the Netherlands and Europe contributes to the objectives of this law. This is an issue for which the legal theoretical expertise of Jet Tigchelaar comes in handy. Wendy Schrama specialises in the legal position of unmarried cohabiting couples in Dutch law and beyond. In 2024, PhD candidate Maaike Huijzer will start empirical-legal research into the legal position of children and partners in informal families. Naema Tahir explores arranged marriage, consent and agency.

Maintenance law

Alimony law is a theme that has been on the political agenda continuously for the past ten years. UCERF has multiple experts in this field, all of whom wrote their dissertation on maintenance. Jet Tigchelaar researched, from a legal-theoretical and political-scientific perspective, the role of care and autonomy in maintenance law.  Merel Jonker focused on comparative law research into child support. Jonker now conducts research into new calculation methods for child support in blended families and into social security for minors in a human rights context.