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Explain joint custody of a child


If you as parents are not married to each other when your child is born, you can obtain joint custody by submitting both declarations of custody.


Detailed description

If you, as parents of a child together, are not married to each other at the time of the child's birth, only the mother has custody. This does not apply if you as parents have made a joint custody declaration or 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 responsible authority or a notary and have it certified. Paternity must first be acknowledged.

You can also submit the custody declaration 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 legal settlement.

A declaration of care must be publicly notarized. You can arrange for this to be done at the responsible authority or, for a fee, at a notary.

After consistent custody declarations have been made, parental custody can only be changed by a decision of the family court.




  • The parents are not married to each other
  • Paternity is effectively recognized
  • The child does not have to be born yet, but it must have been conceived
  • A court decision regarding parental custody has not yet been made
  • The parents must appear in person
  • Both parents speak sufficient German. If this is not the case:
  • Youth Welfare Office: If you need an interpreter, please indicate the language you require when making the 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 by marriage to the child's parents.

Documents required

  • Parents' identity card or passport
  • Birth certificate of the child in which the father is registered or maternity passport in the case of a prenatal declaration of custody
  • Certificate of paternity recognition or court order establishing paternity


The child must still be a minor at the time the custody declaration is submitted.


To declare custody, you must make a personal appointment at the youth welfare office responsible for you or at a notary's office.

If this has not already been done, the father must acknowledge paternity.
Both parents must appear in person, preferably together.
At the appointment you will be informed about the legal consequences of the declaration of custody. This will then be read to you and signed by both parents.

Processing time

The appointment usually lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. The certificates will be handed out directly at the appointment.


Youth Welfare Office: None

Notary: Please inquire at a notary office of your choice

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Keywords: Acknowledgment of paternity, youth welfare office Certificate of custody recognition Declaration of custody, assistance certificate parental concern care

Last updated: 12.07.2024