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Declaring joint custody of a child

If you as parents of a child are not married to each other at the time of birth, only the mother is entitled to custody. This does not apply if you as parents have made a joint declaration of custody or if a different court decision has been made regarding custody.

Written information can be provided about the mother's sole custody, the so-called negative certificate.

If you would like to have joint custody, both parents must declare this to the youth welfare office or a notary and have it notarized. Paternity must first be acknowledged.

You can also make a declaration of custody even 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 are not getting married and do not wish to seek a court settlement.

A declaration of custody must be publicly notarized. You can arrange this at your local youth welfare office or, for a fee, at a notary's office.

Once you have made a joint declaration of custody, parental custody can only be changed by a decision of the family court.

Process flow

To make a declaration of custody, you must make an appointment in person at the youth welfare office or at a notary's office:

  • If this has not already been done, the father must first effectively acknowledge paternity.
  • Both parents must appear in person.
  • At the appointment, you will be informed about the legal consequences of the declaration of custody. This will be read out to you and must be signed by both parents.
  • Both parents will 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 have to be born yet, but it must be conceived.
  • The child must still be a minor.
  • A court decision on parental custody has not yet been made.
  • The parents must appear in person.
  • In principle, the parents must have legal capacity, i.e. be of legal age. The declaration of custody by a parent with limited legal capacity requires the consent of their legal representative.
  • Both parents must speak sufficient German. If this is not the case:
    • Youth Welfare Office: If you require an interpreter, please state the desired language when making the appointment.
    • Notary's office: If you require an interpreter, you must bring an interpreter with you to the appointment. This person must have a valid identity document and must not be related to the child's parents by blood or marriage.

Which documents are required?

  • Parents' identity card or passport
  • In the case of a postnatal declaration: the child's birth certificate in which the father is registered
  • In the case of a prenatal declaration: mother's passport and certificate of acknowledgment of paternity or court order establishing paternity

What are the fees?

Contribution: free of charge
Notarization by the Youth Welfare Office is free of charge. There are also any costs for the interpreter.

Contribution: 60,00 - 80,00 EUR
Payment in advance: No
The notarization of the declaration of custody by a notary usually costs EUR 60.00 plus VAT and writing expenses, in total around EUR 80.00. There are also any costs for the interpreter.

Fee: free of charge

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 declaration of custody is submitted.

Processing duration

The joint declaration of custody is notarized immediately at the appointment.


No legal remedy is provided for.

What else should I know?

There are no indications or special features.

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ)

Professionally released on



The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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