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Denmark and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since July 1, 1991.
For information concerning travel to Denmark, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Denmark.
The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA). The report is located here.
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Denmark. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Danish Central Authority (DCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Children and Social Affairs. The DCA reviews the application for completeness and forwards it to the Bailiff’s Court (Fogedretten) in the jurisdiction of the child’s residence. The DCA will forward the completed application to the appropriate court within two working days. The DCA can be reached at:
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Denmark, the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) encourages a parent or legal guardian to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State’s website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the DCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Danish central authorities. Parents involved in Hague proceedings may obtain advice at no charge from the DCA. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Denmark. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Denmark. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
The DCA will automatically appoint legal representation when the Hague application is forwarded to the Bailiff’s Court (Fogedretten). Applicant parents who choose to retain the services of a private Danish attorney to assist them with ongoing Hague proceedings are responsible for all legal costs; however, a parent can apply for legal aid through the attorney if he/she cannot afford the legal fees. A private attorney should contact the DCA prior to filing a Hague return application directly with the court.
The DCA publishes a list of family law attorneys in Denmark on their website, who are specifically familiar with Hague Convention cases.
The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list.Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
If desired, the parents can submit a request for mediation to the court. A judge or attorney will act as a mediator with the intent of resolving the dispute through mediation, which is free of charge. If the mediation is unsuccessful, the case will return to the court.
While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent. Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:
The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.
To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.
For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney.
Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.
For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.