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Explaining common care for a child

If you, as the parents of a child together, are not married to each other at the time of his birth, only the mother has custody. Written information can be provided about the sole care of the mother, the so-called negative certificate.

If you want to have joint custody, both parents must have this declared to the Youth Welfare Office or a notary and notarized.

You can also make the declaration of custody if your child has not yet been born but has already been conceived. However, this is still possible and necessary after the birth if you do not want to marry each other and do not want to seek a court settlement.
A declaration of custody must be publicly notarized. You can arrange this at the youth welfare office responsible for you or for a fee at a notary.

After the submission of concurring declarations of custody, parental authority can only be changed by a decision of the family court.

Process flow

For the declaration of custody, you must make a personal appointment with the Youth Welfare Office or in a notary's office:

  • If not already done, the father must first effectively acknowledge paternity.
  • Both parents must appear in person
  • In the appointment you will be informed about the legal consequences of the custody declarations. This will then be read to you and signed by both parents.
  • Both parents receive certified copies of the document.


  • The parents are not married to each other.
  • There is legal paternity (through effective recognition or judicial determination)
  • The child does not need to be born yet, but it must be conceived.
  • A court decision on parental care has not yet been made.
  • Parents must appear in person.
  • In principle, the parents must have legal capacity. The declaration of custody by a parent with limited legal capacity requires the consent of his or her legal representative.
  • Both parents speak sufficiently German. If this is not the case:
    • Youth Welfare Office: If you need an interpreter, please let us know the desired language when making an appointment.
    • Notary: If you need an interpreter, you must bring an interpreter to the appointment. This person needs a valid identity document and must not be related or in-laws to the child's parents.

Which documents are required?

  • Identity card or passport of the parents
  • In the case of a postnatal declaration: birth certificate of the child in which the father is registered
  • In the case of a prenatal declaration: maternity passport and certificate of recognition of paternity or court order establishing paternity

What are the fees?

Contribution: 0,00 - 80,00 EUR
Payment in advance: No
Youth Welfare Office: There are no costs. Notary: approx. EUR 80,00; In addition, there are any costs for interpreters or translators.

Fee: free of charge
Payment in advance: No

Fee: 80,00 EUR
Payment in advance: No

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

The child must still be a minor at the time the declarations of custody are submitted.

Processing duration

The notarization takes place immediately at the appointment.

Applications / forms

Forms available: No
Written form required: Yes
Informal application possible: No
Personal appearance required: Yes
Online services available: No

What else should I know?

There are no hints or special features.


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Technically approved by

Lower Saxony Ministry of Justice

competent Bodies

Landkreis Emsland - Fachbereich Jugend

Address: Ordeniederung 1 , 49716 Meppen

Postal address: Post Office Box 15 62

Telephone: 05931 44-0
Fax: 05931 44-3621
Transport Connection:
Building Access:
elevator available : yes
wheelchair-accessible : yes


Point of contact:
Ludger Sager
Telephone: 05931 44-1476
E 476
responsible for:

Data protection information

Landkreis Emsland

Address: Ordeniederung 1 , 49716 Meppen

Postal address: Post Office Box 15 62

Telephone: 05931 44-0
Fax: 05931 44-3621
Transport Connection:
Building Access:
elevator available : yes
wheelchair-accessible : yes
bank account:
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Emsländische Volksbank
IBAN: DE26266600600120050000
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Sparkasse Emsland
IBAN: DE39266500010000001339
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Postbank Hannover
IBAN: DE36250100300012132306


Point of contact:
Marc-André Burgdorf
responsible for:
Bernd Otten (Datenschutzbeauftragter)
Telephone: 05931 44-1605
Fax: 05931 44-391605
responsible for:

Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen

Address: Prinzenstraße 5, 30159 Hannover

Telephone: +49 511 12045-00
Fax: +49 511 12045-99
Building Access:
elevator available : unknown
wheelchair-accessible : unknown

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)

Further Links

Single points of contact of the state of Lower Saxony, Single points of contact of the countries of Europe, advice and assistance for EU citizens and their families.