Do you wish to adopt your spouse or partner’s child?

It is possible to adopt your spouse or partner’s child irrespective of how old they are. It’s called stepchild adoption

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With stepchild adoption, the child is viewed as the common child of both you and the biological parent you are married to or live with. This means the adoptive child has the same legal status as any current or subsequent biological children. The child will no longer have any legal connection to the other biological parent and inheritance rights to this parent and relations also ceases. 

In order to adopt your spouse or partner’s child, the adoption should first and foremost be to the child’s advantage. In addition, the requirement is that you and your spouse or partner should have lived together for a consecutive period of at least 2½ years at the time of application.

In order to adopt your stepchild, you must theoretically be at least 25 years of age. You must also in general, be at least 14 years older than the child you wish to adopt.

You must also have lived with the child for around 3 years before the child reaches the age of 18. This period does not necessarily have to be consecutive. If the child is under 18 years of age, you and your spouse or partner must be living you both at the time of application and granting of adoption rights. This does not apply if the child is over the age of 18. 

In certain cases, it may have significance for the adoption if the child has half-siblings from whom adoption is not sought or who do not meet the criteria for adoption.

If there is joint parental responsibility, both parents must agree to the adoption and give their consent. The parent that you live with or are married to – or have previously been married to or lived with – can give their consent in writing. The parent who is giving up the child for adoption must give their consent at a personal meeting at the Agency for Family Law.

If there is no joint parental responsibility, the parent giving up the child for adoption must give written consent.

A protest only has any significance if there has been contact between parent and child within the past 7-8 years. If one parent lives abroad, he or she will be invited to a meeting at the Danish representation (Embassy or Consulate) in the country in question. This applies irrespective of whether the parent has joint parental responsibility or not.

If the child has reached 7 years of age, he or she will be invited to a meeting at the Agency for Family Law to ascertain the child’s view on the adoption. If the child has reached the age of 12, he or she must also sign consent for adoption.

If the child is under 7 years of age, one of the parents you live with or are married to must give their consent in a personal meeting at the Agency for Family Law.

If the child you wish to adopt was born in another country, it is best to call the Agency for Family Law for advice before you apply for adoption. We should be able to help you with information and/or the documents you will need for the country where the child was born.

The information we will need from the relevant country would be, for example:

  • birth certificate
  • documentation of paternity
  • documentation of joint parental responsibility, or
  • death certificate of a parent if the person died abroad.

There are various rules for the acceptance of foreign documents in Denmark. For some countries, there are requirements for the legalisation of documents, while for others it may be endorsement of an apostille (a stamped official certificate). In many cases it will also be necessary to have the official documents translated.

Last updated: 12 December 2020