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Child Abduction from Denmark If you have sole or joint custody of your child – and if the other parent has taken your child abroad without your consent, or is retaining your child abroad without your consent, a case of international child abduction may be what you are facing.

If your child has been taken abroad – and it has not been possible to stop the departure -  this will be a case of child abduction if the following conditions are met:

  • You have shared custody of the child, or there is a case pending on the issue of custody.
  • No official decision has been made allowing the child to be removed from Denmark.
  • You have visited with the child or had access to the child in the time leading up to the abduction.

These are the rules

Denmark has acceded to three conventions which may form the basis for an application for the return of your child: The Hague Convention of 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the Hague Convention of 1996 for the Protection of Children and the European Convention.

Basically, the rules stipulate that a child must be returned to the parent, from whom the child was abducted, in the country where the child has had legal residence. Only the country of legal residence is authorised to decide any disputes relating to the child – including disputes on place of residence, custody and access.

An application for the return of an abducted child may be rejected:

  • If more than one year has lapsed since the abduction and retention of the child – and if the child has settled into its new environment.
  • If there is a grave risk that returning the child would be harmful to the child.
  • If the child objects to being returned and has attained and age and a degree of maturity that makes it appropriate to take its views into account.
  • If the return would be incompatible with the fundamental principles of the protection of human rights. 

Most cases of child abduction are very complex and often they are very contentious cases. For these reasons, we recommend that you do not delay in contacting a lawyer who may assist in having your child returned to you.

The action to take if your child has been removed from Denmark

It is paramount that you immediately contact the Danish State Administration (“Statsforvaltningen”) and apply for sole custody.

At the same time as making the application to the State Administration for sole custody, you should also report the abduction to the police and, thus, make a report pursuant to the Danish Criminal Code against the alleged abductor. This means that, in some cases, you will not only receive the assistance of the Danish police but will also receive international assistance through Interpol to institute a search for the alleged abductor.

By applying immediately to the Danish State Administration, your application will usually be dealt with urgently, and you will receive a temporary decision on your application for sole custody. It should be noted that this temporary decision on custody must be brought before the relevant local court no later than four weeks from the temporary decision being issued.  

If the decision is not referred to the court before the deadline, the temporary decision will lapse.

Child abduction to a non-convention state

If your child has been abducted from Denmark and is now being retained in a non-convention state, the scope of assistance which the Danish authorities may offer you is more limited.

The problem is that non-convention states are not obliged to return your child. At the same time, any Danish decisions made on custody residence are not readily enforceable in the recipient state.

In this situation, you would usually have a greater prospect of success in having your child returned through negotiations or mediation.

However, it is also possible to instigate efforts to have the child returned with the assistance of the Danish authorities.