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See the questions most frequently asked about child abductions.

About costody

I and the other parent have joint custody. The other parent has threatened to abduct our child. What can I do to prevent the child from being abducted?

There are various things that you can do. You can apply for sole custody of the child, for example, or you can apply for a condition of passport depositing during access with the other parent. In that connection, you should contact the State Administration.

We have joint custody. I would like to go on holiday abroad with our child. Am I allowed to do so?

As long as you do not disagree on who is to have custody, you are both entitled to take the child abroad without it being a case of abduction. However, it depends on whether the State Administration or the court has decided otherwise.

 

If you disagree about custody, you are not allowed to go abroad without the other parent’s consent. However, you may apply to the State Administration for permission to go abroad with the child.

I would like to take our child abroad. I have sole custody. The other parent will not consent to it. Am I allowed to go anyway?

Yes, you are. When you have sole custody, you are entitled to determine where your child is to stay, also in what country.

Is the other parent allowed to take our child abroad, when I have sole custody and will not consent to it?

No, the other parent is not allowed to do so unless the State Administration or the court has made a decision allowing the other parent to exercise rights of access abroad. However, the other parent is allowed to go to the Nordic countries with the child for access.

 

You can find more information about custody at statsforvaltning.dk
or at familiestyrelsen.dk

About access

My child has access with the other parent, who is of another nationality. We have joint custody. I fear that the other parent will abduct the child to his (or her) country of origin. What can I do?

As an example, you can ask the State Administration to impose a condition of passport depositing or a condition of supervised access.

What should I do when the child has not returned after access in Denmark, both parents live in Denmark, and there is no risk that the child is about to leave Denmark?

If you and the other parent have a decision on rights of access from the State Administration or an agreement enforceable by the bailiff’s court, you should contact the bailiff’s court. The bailiff’s court can help you get the child back if the other parent does not observe the agreement/decision.

 

If you have made an oral agreement, or you have a written agreement that is unenforceable, the bailiff’s court cannot help in making the other parent return the child. Instead, you should contact the State Administration and apply to have custody transferred to you or ask for a decision on rights of access that is enforceable.

 

You can find more information under the subject Not returned after access.
You can find information about the determination or modification of rights of access at statsforvaltning.dk.
You can find the nearest bailiff’s court at: domstol.dk.

About passports

My child has dual nationality. How can I check that the other parent has not had a foreign passport issued to my child?

You can contact the embassy or consulate of the relevant country in Denmark and ask to be informed whether a passport has been issued to the child. You should draw attention in writing to the fact that you will not consent to the child’s departure from Denmark or to the issue of a passport to the child.

My child is a Danish national, but the other parent is of another nationality. Can I have my child’s passport blocked, or can I have a departure prohibition issued?

No, you cannot have your child’s passport blocked or have a departure prohibition issued, but you could, for example, contact the embassy or consulate of the relevant country in Denmark and ask to be informed whether a visa/entry permit has been issued to the child or the other parent for the relevant country.

 

You can find more information about passports under the subject Passport rules.
You can contact the police at politi.dk.
You can find information on passports in danish at borger.dk.
You can find a list of embassies and consulates in Denmark at um.dk.

About prevention of child abduction

Who should I contact to draw their attention to my concern that the other parent might contemplate leaving Denmark with my child without my consent?

If there is an acute risk that the child is about to leave Denmark without your consent, you should contact the police.

 

If the risk is not acute, you may do the following:

  • Tell the child’s day-care institution, school, etc., to contact you if anything unusual happens, or if the child is collected by the other parent or others without any agreement with you.
  • Make sure that you have the child’s personal papers in your possession.
  • You could apply to the State Administration for a modification of custody or rights of access.
  • Always make sure that you have a recent photo of the child, the child’s certificate of baptism or birth and proof that you have sole or joint custody. 

 

Contact the police at politi.dk.
Contact the State Administration at statsforvaltning.dk.

About when the child has been abducted

My child has been abducted abroad. How do I get the child home again?

If the country to which your child has been abducted cooperates with Denmark under a convention, the Ministry of Children, Gender Equality, Integration and Social Affairs can help you apply to have the child returned. If the country has not entered into cooperation with Denmark under a convention, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can help you.

Can I bring the child home from abroad myself?

If you try to bring the child home yourself, it may be considered a new case of child abduction by the authorities in the country where the child is now. Therefore, you should contact the Ministry of Children, Gender Equality, Integration and Social Affairs or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for advice and guidance if your child has been abducted.

My child has been abducted to a convention country. How long will it take to get the child back?

That varies from case to case. If the child has been abducted to a country with which Denmark cooperates under the Hague Convention, the child must be returned as quickly as possible. In principle, a case on return must be decided within six weeks after the application for return was submitted to the court. If no decision has been made, the court may be requested to give an explanation of the reason why.

 

Sometimes it may take time because there may be problems in finding the alleged abductor and the child, or because the case must be heard by the court. It depends on the court procedure of the individual country how long it takes to conduct a case before the court.

What should I do if Denmark does not cooperate under a convention with the country to which my child has been abducted?

In that situation, you should contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

My child has been abducted abroad. Why can’t the police just collect my child from the other parent and return the child?

The police are not able to collect your child from the other parent and take the child home to you. The courts in the country to which the child has been abducted have jurisdiction to decide whether a child should be returned or not. However, the police can help the central authorities or the courts by listing the alleged abductor and the child as missing persons.
 

You can find more information under the subjects The child has been taken abroad, The Ministry of Children, Gender Equality, Integration and Social Affairs as the Central Authority and The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

About financial assistance

My child has been abducted. Can I obtain any financial assistance for instituting proceedings abroad?

In principle, you have to pay all expenses for a lawyer both in Denmark and abroad yourself. However, various financial schemes make it possible for you to apply for financial assistance. First, check whether you have a private household insurance policy with cover for expenses related to legal proceedings. If you have no insurance cover, you can apply for free legal aid in the country to which your child has been abducted. If you do not meet the financial conditions for free legal representation abroad, you can apply for legal aid to the Ministry of Children, Gender Equality, Integration and Social Affairs.

How do I find a lawyer who is suited to conduct a child abduction case?

You are free to choose any lawyer to support you during a child abduction case. The Ministry of Justice has appointed a number of lawyers recommended by the Ministry in child abduction cases. These lawyers are considered especially suited to conduct child abduction cases. The lawyers are appointed according to certain criteria, including comprehensive knowledge of family law and litigation experience.

 

See the list of appointed lawyers under the subject Financial assistance.

Is it necessary for me to contact a lawyer in a child abduction case?

No, you decide yourself whether you want to contact a lawyer. It varies from case to case whether legal assistance is necessary. In many cases, it may be an advantage to seek assistance from a lawyer.

 

If your child has been abducted abroad, the Central Authority or the courts of the country to which the child has been abducted will normally help you to contact a lawyer who can conduct the case for you before the foreign court.

 

Please note that in principle you have to pay the expenses for legal assistance yourself. 

 

You can find more information under the subject Financial assistance.