Martine Wernsen

Lawyer and mediator
at Versteegh Advocaten
0031 (0)70 3142415
Voorburg
The Netherlands

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Martine has been an lawyer since 2003. She has experience in criminal law, juvenile law, family law and psychiatric patient law. She also works as a mediator.

Since a few years she focuses on family cases involving relocation of children and child abduction.

Martine has created this website (www.carefulchildrelocation.com) to draw more attention to these issues and to ensure a good cooperation between clients and lawyers in these often urgent cases. In addition to her practice, she is working daily to add information about these types of cases to this website.

Martine speaks Dutch and English.
Subsidized legal aid is not possible

Relevant experiences and positions

Decision making model

During her work as a lawyer in the Netherlands, Martine has completed several specialization courses in the fields of criminal law, juvenile law and family law. She was also an active board member of the Hague Association of Juvenile Lawyers. This diversity of interests and experience are useful in child abduction cases, since that is where those different areas of law intersect.

In 2021, Martine started writing for Careful child relocation. At first, that website was ment just for her  office. It was only later that she realized how valuable it would be to share this web site with other lawyers from many different countries.

Some personal questions

When did you first handle a child abduction case?

It was in 2016. My colleague already had experience with these cases, but for me it was quite overwhelming.

Why is it interesting for you as a lawyer to work on these cases?

For me, it is nice to work intensively with my clients over a number of months. You have to dive right in and make sure that the client feels that he or she can be open and honest and that you don’t miss any important details

Which cases are you most concerned with?

With cases where siblings no longer grow up in the same country. I think that bond is hugely important and deserves more protection.

What do you think will change in the future in this area of law?

I think and hope that there will be more focus on the importance of children growing up with their siblings. And I hope that there will be better communication with children about how the fact that they are allowed to talk to the judge or guardian ad litem does not mean that their opinion will be decisive.

What is your advice to parents dealing with international child abduction?

Try to look at the dispute from some distance. Try to think about how you want to look back on this period in 5 or 10 years. Will you be able to explain to your children how you acted in these proceedings? Can you say that you tried to look at it objectively?

Decision making model

Blogs from

Martine Wernsen

Blogs from

Martine Wernsen

Family Law Watch List (Airport Watch List) – Australia

Family Law Watch List (Airport Watch List) – Australia

If you fear that your child will be taken from Australia by the other parent, you can have the child's name added to the Family Law Watch List to prevent child abduction. You can read more about this subject in a recent post from Danielle Young, a lawyer in Brisbane....

11 Red flags for parental child abduction

11 Red flags for parental child abduction

These are possible signs that the other parent will abduct the child, by taking it to another country, or by not returning the child from another country: 1. Past behaviour An indicator may be that in the past with this child or another child, the parent has resorted...

Golan v. Saada

Golan v. Saada

Supreme Court of the United States, June 15, 2022 The Supreme Court ruled that a court is not required to examine all possible ameliorative measures before denying a Hague Convention petition for return of a child to a foreign country once the court has found that...