Residence in a cross-border family situation

When you break up, it is important that you reach an agreement regarding which of you the child shall live with

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If you have joint custody and agree on the child’s residence, you can make an agreement between yourselves as to which of you the child shall have residence with. You need not involve the Agency of Family Law in such agreements.

When you have joint custody, it is the resident parent who decides where in the country the child shall live. However, if the child is to move abroad or to Greenland or the Faeroe Islands, you shall be in agreement on such.

If one of you has sole custody of the child, it is that parent who decides where the child shall live, in purely geographical terms. This applies both in Denmark and abroad.

Even if it is you, as the parents, who decide where the child shall live, it is a good idea to have a talk with your child. It is important for children to feel like their parents listen to them.

If the parents cannot come to an agreement on where the child shall have their official address, the Agency of Family Law can help the parents make an agreement. If the parents, after having received help and counselling, still cannot come to an agreement, the Family Court can ultimately make the decision on where the child shall live.

You have an obligation to tell the other parent about a possible move. You shall do this no later than 6 weeks before you move, and you shall be able to prove that you did so.

This obligation to notify applies no matter what; whether you live together with your children, or whether you do not live together with your children. It also applies even if you have neither shared nor sole custody of your child.

If the one of you who is to move does not tell the other parent about the move in time, it may have an impact on a possible later case, where e.g. the court shall take a position on which of you the child shall live with.

If you have joint custody but cannot come to an agreement as to which of you the child shall have residence with, you shall contact the Agency of Family Law. The Agency of Family Law can help you with parental cooperation and to reach agreements that work well for your child.

If you want help from the Agency of Family Law, you shall complete and submit the form ‘Application for change of residence’. You can use the form to describe what you need help with.

When the Agency of Family Law receives your request, we will assess how we can best help you. That may be, for example, counselling by a child expert, conflict mediation, or courses on cooperation.The Agency of Family Law will try to help you reach agreement on a solution. It’s always best for your child if you find a solution with which you can cooperate.

If the parents, after having received help and counselling, still cannot come to an agreement, the Family Court can ultimately make the decision on where the child shall live.

When you have joint custody, you shall be in agreement if your child and the one of you with whom the child lives and has their registered address are going to move abroad. Thus, the parent with whom the child lives does not have more of a say than the other parent.

When one parent has sole custody of the child, that parent alone decides where the child shall live, in purely geographical terms. This applies both in Denmark and abroad.

When moving abroad, it is important to remember that your child has a right to both of their parents, and you are responsible for your child having a good relationship and regular contact with both of you.

If you have joint custody and agree on the child’s residence, you can make an agreement between yourselves as to which of you the child shall have residence with.

You need not involve the Agency of Family Law in such agreements.

If you disagree about changing the child’s residence, you can get help from the Agency of Family Law. You can apply here for a change of the child’s residence.

The Agency of Family Law only handles cases on changing a child’s residence when the parents are not in agreement. If you as parents agree to change the child’s residence, you shall not use this application, but instead notify the change of address to the population register.

When the Agency of Family Law makes a decision on visitation, the child’s residence, or custody, the decision states how you can appeal against it.

You shall send an appeal to the Agency of Family Law no later than four weeks after you have received the decision. Once the Agency of Family Law has received your appeal, we pass it on to the Family Court.

The Agency of Family Law may also decide to reopen the case if:

  • The appeal contains an application on which the Agency of Family Law has not taken a position
  • The appeal contains significant new information
  • The case contains significant information on which the Agency of Family Law has not taken a position
  • There have been procedural errors, which potentially have a bearing on the decision.

You cannot appeal against:

The Agency of Family Law’s registration or noting of an agreement cannot be brought before the Family Court, but the Agency of Family Law can instead reopen the case.

The Agency of Family Law’s decisions on access to documents by virtue of the Public Administration Act or the Danish Open Administration Act cannot be brought before the Family Court. However, the Agency of Family Law shall resume processing the request for access to documents.

Last updated: 12 December 2020