European Convention

The object of the European Convention of 20 May 1980 on recognition and enforcement of decisions concerning custody of children and on restoration of custody of children is to ensure that decisions on custody, the child’s residence and rights of access made by convention countries are recognised by the other convention countries.

According to the convention, a Danish decision on custody, the child’s residence and rights of access must be recognised by the other convention countries in the same way as if the decision had been made by the authorities of those countries. This applies even if the other convention country would have decided, for example, the issue of custody differently according to their rules.

The convention only applies to children under the age of 16 and presupposes that an enforceable decision has been made. If your child has been abducted, and you have custody under the law, the convention is not applicable until a decision has been made on custody or the child’s residence.

Denmark currently cooperates with 36 countries (see the list to the right).

If your child has been abducted to a country which has also acceded to the Hague Convention, you can submit an application under that convention instead, as the Hague Convention does not require that a decision on custody or the child’s residence be made first.

Recognition and enforcement of a decision on custody, the child’s residence or rights of access may be refused if one of the following conditions is met:

  • It is manifestly incompatible with the fundamental principles of law relating to the family and children in that country.
  • A change in circumstances makes it manifestly contrary to the welfare of the child.
  • At the time when the proceedings were instituted in the child’s country of origin, the child was a national of the recipient country or had its residence there without having similar ties with its country of origin.
  • The child was a national of both the country of origin and the recipient country and had its residence in the recipient country.