The right of a child to an education (Art 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child) is considered an important right. Without a doubt, with the right education, children are better prepared for their future.
Complications can easily arise when the emotional well-being of the children is not taken into account in the new country. This is likely to happen when (expat) parents expect their intelligent children to be cognitively able to cope with the demands of school, as well as with extra‑curricular language lessons or religious education programmes so as not to lose touch with their culture of origin. In divorce situations, in which the parents have different nationalities and backgrounds or religions, these parents are inclined to become even more adamant about this, making the situation ever more complicated.
As a lawyer and mediator specialised in family law with an international practice, Edith van Ruitenbeek sometimes has to help children who are ‘caught in the middle’ as their parents wrestle their way through a high-conflict divorce. She knows that this can cause severe trauma, while the children’s well-being becomes increasingly at stake.
Which is why she always try to prevent this type of situation by asking the spouses to think as parents instead of ex-partners – right from the beginning.