Parental responsibility, custody and access in cross-border cases
Article | Last updated: 19/12/2019 | Ministry of Children and Families
New rules on parental responsibility, international relocation, custody (the child's place of residence) and access (contact) in cross-border cases apply from 1 Juy 2016, due to the implementation of the 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention. This will make it possible to resolve more international parental disputes in accordance with the best interests of the child.
Learn more about the 1996 Hague Convention, the Norwegian implementation law and amendments to the Children Act .
The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) is designated as Norway’s central authority under the Convention.
Norwegian courts may handle cases concerning parental responsibility, relocaction, a child's place of residence and access if the requirements in the Children Act Section 82 is met.
Due to amendments of 1 July 2016 the child's «habitual residence» is now the basic rule for jurisdiction.
Cf. a special rule in the Marriage Act Section 30 d.
When Norwegian courts have jurisdiction to make a decision in a parental dispute, Norwegian law applies, unless special rules is stipulated in international treaties that Norway is party to. Cf. Section 84 of the Children Act. Norway is party to the Nordic Convention on Family Law of 6 February 1931 and the 1996 Hague Convention.
The Children Act Section 84 a regulates applicable law concerning parental responsibility. This section entails that parental responsibility that is granted by law or agreed in the child’s previous state(s) of habitual residence, subsists after a change of that habitual residence to another state.
Recognition of decisions
Recognition of decisions taken in other states is regulated in the Children Act Section 84 b. This section entails that a decision on parental responsibility, international relocation, custody (a child's place of residence) or access and contact arrangements apply in Norway when this follows from international treaties that Norway is party to.
Norwegian law provides that a decision taken by a foreign court shall not be enforced unless specifically authorised, see Section 4-1, second paragraph (f), of the Enforcement of Claims Act. Pursuant to Section 65, Paragraph (1) of the Children Act, the provisions of Chapter 13 of the Enforcement of Claims Act shall apply to decisions concerning parental responsibility and custody (the child's place of residence), and according to Paragraph (2) of the Children Act, a decision concerning right of access may be enforced by means of a coercive fine.
The Ministry of Children and Families is responsible for the Children Act, the Marriage Act and the implementation act regarding the 1996 Hague Convention, but does not provide assistance in individual cases. The Ministry of Justice and Public Security is responsible for other legislation referred to above.
Information concerning child abduction: More information on child abduction is available on the website of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, where further information can also be found on parental responsibility and travel abroad with children.