Appointing a guardian

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Child custody (voogdij) is parental authority exercised by someone other than the child’s parents. For example, after the death of one or both parents. Or if the parents are unable to exercise parental authority over the child, whether temporarily or permanently.

Child custody proceedings are governed by civil law. An application to the district court to appoint a guardian may only be made by a lawyer. Choosing who the guardian is does not require a lawyer.

Appointing a guardian

Are you a parent? This procedure allows you to register in the gezagsregister (Parental Authority Register) whom you appoint as guardian for your minor child.

Would you like to appoint a guardian? You can have this recorded in your will or in the gezagsregister. Have you done both? Then the most recent appointment applies.

The procedure for appointing a guardian consists of the following steps:

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  • You can appoint a guardian in two ways:


    You will need your child's Burgerservicenummer (citizen service number), and you must log in with your DigiD.

    In writing

    Fill in the form and send it to the district court, together with the necessary documents. Choose the district court that has your place of residence in its jurisdiction.

    Necessary documents when appointing a guardian in writing:

    • Original copy of the birth certificate, dated and certified, not older than 3 months (available from your municipality);
    • Copy of a valid identity document.
  • The district court will process your digital or written form. You will receive an extract from the gezagsregister within 2 weeks. The extract will show the name of the guardian who will take over parental authority after your death.

Costs of the procedure for appointing a guardian

A digital application is free of charge. When submitting a written request, you must include various documents that you can request from your municipality. There are costs associated with this. The amount varies depending on the municipality.

Duration of the procedure for appointing a guardian

The district court will process your ‘Voogt aanwijzen’ (‘Appoint a guardian’) form. You will receive an extract from the gezagsregister within 2 weeks.

Questions and answers

Can I, as a parent, unilaterally appoint a guardian?

Yes, you can. Both parents may designate a guardian independently of one another. If the parents die at the same time, the judge will decide who becomes the guardian.

In which situations does the judge appoint the guardian?

The judge will only appoint a guardian if the parents have not done this themselves or if the designated guardian cannot or will not perform their child custody duties.

How can I become the guardian of a young person from Curaçao in the Netherlands?

For child custody of minor children from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, you do not need to go to court. The procedure is dealt with by the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming.
Read more about becoming the guardian of a young person from Curaçao (in Dutch)

Contact the Rechtspraak Service Centre

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