Do you want to adopt a child from the family?

You may adopt a child to whom you have a family relationship or other qualified relationship

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In the case of a family adoption, the child will be considered as your child. This means that the adopted child inherits on an equal footing with any biological children.

The child will no longer have any legal ties to its biological parents, and the rights of inheritance from these and their family will seize. 

You may adopt a child to whom you have a family relationship. This can be your grandchild, your sibling, your nephew or your niece. In practice, this requires that close contact has been established over a long period of time, typically 3 years or more. A child that is under 18 years of age must be brought up for 3 years before the child turns 18. 

You may also adopt a child into your family if there is a qualified relationship between you. This can for example be provision of care. In practice, this requires that close contact has been established over a long period of time, typically 3 years or more.

If we assess that it is a family adoption, you will not need to be approved as the adopting person. You will be invited for a first interview at the Agency of Family Law, where you will receive guidance on family adoption.

Family adoptions can be performed be it you are single or married or cohabiting. If you are married or have a cohabiting partner, you must as an absolute rule apply for adoption together. This is upon condition that you have been cohabiting for at least 2½ years.

As a rule, you must have attained the age of 25. At the same time, you must in principle be at least 14 years older than the child you wish to adopt. You must have lived with the child for 3 years before the child turns 18. This period does not need to have been continuous. 

In certain cases, it may be important for the adoption to know if the child has whole or half-blood siblings, who are not applied for adoption, or who do not meet the requirements for adoption.

If the child is under joint rights of custody, both parents must agree on carrying out the adoption, and give their consent while attending in person at the Agency of Family Law.

If one of the parents is not involved in the rights of custody, he or she should make a written declaration on his or her position on the adoption. If one parent who is not involved in the rights of custody disputes the adoption, it can normally only be performed if there has been no contact between the child and the disputing parent for the past 3 years.

If one parent is living abroad, he or she will be invited to a meeting at the Danish representation in the country concerned (an embassy or a consulate).

If the child you wish to adopt was born abroad, it is better to contact the adoption office at the Agency of Family Law by telephone, before you apply for adoption. This way, we will be able to guide you on the specific information/documents to use for the country where the child was born.

The foreign documentation we should receive can for instance be:

  • birth certificate of the child
  • proof of paternity
  • proof of rights of custody, or
  • death certificate of a parent, if he or she has died abroad.

There are various rules for the recognition of foreign documents in Denmark. For some countries there are requirements that the documents are made legal, while for others an endorsement of an apostille is required. In many cases it will also be necessary to have the foreign documents translated.

Any complaint against a decision should be brought before the Agency of Family Law. The complaint should be brought before us in order to let us consider a review of the case, that is whether we should resume our examination of the case.

If we do not resume our examination, we will further your complaint and the remainder of the case to the Appeal Board, which will examine your complaint.

Last updated: 30 November 2023