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Declaring joint custody of a child

If you, as the parents of a common child, are not married to each other at the time of birth, only the mother has custody. This does not apply if you, as the parents, have made a joint declaration of custody or if a different court decision has been made regarding custody. Written information about the mother's sole custody can be provided, 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. Before that, paternity must be acknowledged.

You can make the 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 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.

Once concurring declarations of custody have been made, 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 a notary's office:

  • If this has not already been done, the father must first validly acknowledge paternity.
  • Both parents must appear in person.
  • At the appointment, you will be informed about the legal consequences of the custody declarations. This will be read 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 (by effective acknowledgement 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.
  • Parents must appear in person.
  • In principle, the parents must have legal capacity, i.e. in particular the age of majority. The declaration of custody of a parent with limited legal capacity requires the consent of his or her legal representative.
  • Both parents speak sufficient German. If this is not the case:
    • Youth Welfare Office: If you need an interpreter, please let us know the language you want when making an appointment.
    • Notary: If you need 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 or related to the child's parents.

Which documents are required?

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

What are the fees?

Contribution: free of charge
The notarization by the Youth Welfare Office is free of charge. In addition, there are any costs for interpreters.

Contribution: 60,00 - 80,00 EUR
Payment in advance: No
The notarization of the custody declaration at the notary usually costs 60.00 EUR plus VAT and writing expenses, a total of approx. 80,00 EUR. In addition, there are any costs for interpreters.

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 custody declarations are submitted.

Processing duration

The notarization of joint custody 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


There is no legal remedy.

What else should I know?

There are no hints or specifics.

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)