Advocate and mediator


Parting ways is often difficult

I am a lawyer and mediator. People who find that they are not or no longer able to arrange their divorce or settle an estate have been coming to me since 1999. This is not surprising as parting ways is usually a difficult affair. Pain, sadness and anger are often strongly felt emotions during a divorce or following the death of a family member. Spouses sometimes find themselves unable to hear or see each other, and long-standing and sometimes long-suppressed feelings towards family members can flare up when someone passes. Drawing attention to these emotions can bring about the breakthrough that is needed to arrive at a joint settlement agreeable to all involved.


Motto: calm, strategy and really listening to the client


I try to create calm, offer guidance to clients in a stage of their lives that many find difficult and attempt to convince clients that reaching an amicable settlement is usually better than a court decision. An amicable approach ends the conflict faster, puts an end to existing uncertainties, costs less and is less stressful emotionally. However, an amicable settlement is not always possible, in which case the conflict will need to be resolved in court. As a former deputy judge at the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal I know better how a judge decides in courtcases.


In 2018 I decided to continue my lawyer’s practice on a smaller scale. Now, I can go about my work with a greater sense of calm and focus more time and attention on my clients. I have fewer case files and I don’t waste time on management tasks. I am selective in taking on new clients.
I am registered as a specialist on familylaw at the expertiseregister of the Dutch Bar Association.


I previously worked at the VU University in Amsterdam, where I wrote a doctoral thesis on usufruct under to the law of inheritance. I then joined large teams specialised in family law, first at Wintertaling and then at SCG advocaten, where I was a partner and co-founder of both offices. For many years I was also a committee member of the Association of Family Lawyers and Divorce Mediators (vFAS) where I set up the specialist course in inheritance law for lawyers. From 2012 untill 2021 I was a deputy judge at the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal in family and inheritance cases. In the register of the Dutch Bar Association I am registered as an expert in inhertitancelaw and familylaw.


Committee member of the Cooperative Association Letterdyfe House (www.letterdyfehouse.nl).

Member of the Association of Family Lawyers and Divorce Mediators (www.vfas.nl) and registered as a mediator with the Mediators Federation of the Netherlands (mfnregister.nl).


I represented an under-age boy who was in danger of losing his portion of his father’s estate because his father had never recognised him from the time of his birth. I submitted an application to the court to adjudicate the paternity of the boy. The court’s ruling ensured that the deceased father became the boy’s legal father with retroactive effect and the boy became a legal heir to the father’s estate.
A judge and an entrepreneur arranged their divorce in a mediation, whereby claims to one portion of the enterprise’s value were paid out while another portion was not so that the business could continue. An expert determined the value of the enterprise. However, the entrepreneur was unable to pay out half of the value of the enterprise because that would spell the business’s bankruptcy.
On behalf of a group of heirs, I claimed back money from an heir who had enriched himself while the testator was still alive through gifts, cash withdrawals and PIN payments from the testator’s assets. It turned out that this heir had a bank card that gave him full control of the payment transactions of the testator’s bank accounts. The court ruled that the heir’s actions were unlawful and ordered the heir to repay to the estate what he had taken.

Fields of specialisation


Contact information

Menno van Gaalen Family Law
Keizersgracht 62-64
1015 CS Amsterdam
T: 020 520 79 95
F: 020 520 75 10


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