Children and togetherness

When a couple is faced with divorce or the dissolution of a paperless cohabitation, there are many things to decide and be aware of.

If there are children, in this difficult time you must focus on the children’s well-being and put their interests first.

It must be remembered that it is the parents who choose divorce and not the children, and that while the marriage or cohabitation can be dissolved, parenthood lasts a lifetime.

Here is a short overview of the most common questions that parents ask in the event of divorce/dissolution of cohabitation.

Who should have custody of the children?

If the parties have been married, or if the unmarried father has recognized the child, there is joint custody of the child. As a starting point,  joint custody continues after divorce.

It is only possible to dissolve the joint custody by judgment if the parties are assumed to be unable to cooperate in the best interests of the children.

Joint custody means that the parents must jointly make the most important joint decisions about the child (e.g. issuing a passport, the child’s name and religion, moving abroad, major medical procedures).

REMEMBER! One parent may not move abroad with the child without the other parent’s consent. If he/she does this, it is child abduction, and the other parent has the right to claim the child back, cf. the rules on child abduction laid down in the Hague Convention.

The parent who has abducted the child risks losing custody.

Where will the children live?

The parents must agree where the child will live after divorce/separation. If there is no agreement on residence, the parents must contact the Family Court (formerly the State Administration). The family court summons the parents to a meeting where they will try to reach an agreement. If it is not possible to reach an agreement on the child’s place of residence, the Family Court sends the case to the Family Court.

It is advisable to be assisted by a lawyer during the meeting in the Family Court.

How often should meetings take place?

The parent with whom the child has a national register address is considered to be the child’s “parent of residence”. The other parent becomes the “custodial parent”. The visitation parent can approach the Family Court if the parents cannot agree on a visitation agreement. Regardless of the agreement , it is recommended that the parents draw up a written visitation agreement. The agreement must be as detailed and clear as possible, so that disagreements are avoided.

If one party is a foreigner, a written and very detailed agreement is a necessity.

It is recommended to contact a lawyer who has experience in international matters, so that the agreement entered into by the parties is valid both in Denmark and abroad.

How much must be paid for child support?

As a parent, you have a duty to provide for your child. This duty also continues after divorce or termination of cohabitation.

Child support is a contribution that the parent who does not have the child living with them, i.e. the custodial parent pays to the residential parent.

The family court has fixed rates set depending on income, which determine how much the custodial parent must pay for the child’s support.

It is also possible to enter into an agreement on contributions , where the parents agree on how large a contribution the custodial parent must pay.

REMEMBER: an agreement on contributions is binding . Therefore, it is not recommended to enter into an agreement on contributions without the assistance of a lawyer.