This article is intended to enable readers to avoid problems and if that does not work to limit and solve them. Written by a lawyer in The Netherlands but as a general advice, applicable in other countries as well.
Why this article?
For many years now, I have been a lawyer and my job is to solve problems of my clients. Looking back I see a pattern in the manner problems begin, how they get solved and how they sometimes grow out of control. I do not pretend that all problems can be avoided or solved, but a substantial part of them can.
How do I recognise and avoid potential problems?
Nobody will knowingly and willingly start his own problems, so problems start because someone ends up in a situation that was not recognised as causing a problem. How can that happen?
For a start, in this part of the world, in modern times, life and society are complex. Everything is regulated and interwoven with other things, so it is difficult to see trough things. For a Dutchman like me, born and raised here, it still sometimes surprises me how the civil society works. Can you imagine how that is for someone who is rather new here.
Because of this complex world it is of great importance that anyone who is living here is inquisitive and tries to learn the language and the rules of the society. That will be the beginning of your problem avoiding and solving skills. Just understand clearly what is happening around you is a life changer.
How do problems start?
Often it starts with an event that in itself is not a problem but that can evolve into one. It can be any setback, troubles in your relation, loss of your job, unexpected expenses because in one month both your car, your washing machine and your tv breaks down, whatever. The question is how to handle this setback to avoid it becoming a real problem and if that happens anyway, to make the problem manageable.
As an example I will use job-loss because that is an issue we all can relate to. Nobody needs the advice to seek a new job, so the obvious actions that must be taken I will not discuss. How to handle such a setback?
First one must try to foresee what the consequences are. In this case it is a loss of income since one will get a redundancy fee and after a while, if one cannot find a new job, even less income because one gets welfare. Now one cannot do much about the income otherwise than seeking a job but many people forget to search timely at their expenses. Even if one has some savings and can keep up the lifestyle one is used to for a while, it would be wise not to touch the savings but to limit one’s expenses before it is strictly necessary.
The savings are the vital protection against problems. Imagine that you must pay unexpected taxes or some other things. If you have savings, it is a setback, if you do not have savings you do not have enough money to pay all your bills in time and the creditors will start to chase you for their money and the first incassobureau or bailiff will show up. By then, there is a problem.
What to do when the problem starts?
Hope is not a strategy and doing nothing is not an option. One must deal as soon as possible with the problem by contacting the creditor and to work out a solution. Often payment in instalments is negotiable.
Dealing with issues like this is not easy so seek help as soon as possible. I have good experiences with the organisations known as Het Wereldhuis, Kariboe Bibi and Stad en Kerk. Those organisations have branches in most major cities and offer support and advice. Also they have practical assistance in many fields so make use of their assistance. In my experience, many problems can be solved by timely seeking support. For information www.wereldhuis.org, www.kariboebibi.nl and www.stekdenhaag.nl.
What to do when the problem is out of control?
A problem is out of control by the time that one receives a summon from the bailiff or similar letter. By then the costs of the procedure will be added to the debt and that will lead to a serious increase of debt. If one gets such letters, immediately seek contact with your lawyer to see what is possible but just as important it is to seek a solution for one’s debts. Most likely, you are in a position that you cannot get out of by yourself, so seek assistance. A good option is to ask your city council for advice for “schuldsanering”. For advice and information about that see www.bureauwsnp.nl.
What to do in case of other problems?
In essence, problems are much alike. So other problems, like residence permit, fine by the police, being summoned to the court – all are things that must be dealt with as soon as possible. Do not wait and hope the problem passes you by, it will not.
Seek advice by a person who knows this kind of problems. It does not have to be a lawyer, people from the previously mentioned organisations advise you well. However, when it is a serious problem, present it timely to a lawyer. If you have to be in court on Tuesday, do not call the lawyer on the Monday before… A serious lawyer needs some time to study and prepare a case so give that time.
Want to visit our office?
Of course our office does not only practice immigration law, but also family law, criminal law labour law and so on. Since several lawyers work in our office with their own specialism, it is important to make clear what the problem is, so an appointment can be made with a lawyer that is qualified to handle your case. Readers are therefore welcome to visit our office for FREE consultation and for support with the application. Have a look at our website www.skv-advocatenkantoor.nl to learn more about our office. For an appointment call 070 427 3215 and explain to our Secretary what your question is. To learn more about our office, you can also take a look at our web-site: www.skv-advocatenkantoor.nl Do not hold information back because our Secretary will decide if and when an appointment is possible and which of our lawyers is best qualified for the specific problem. When you come to the appointment, bring all information that is available. Only then can we judge the case and do make good use of the time.