Separation and divorce
In Denmark, the handling of all matrimonial matters starts at the Agency of Family Law. Couples wanting to obtain a legal separation or a divorce must start by submitting an application to the Agency of Family Law.
If the parties agree
If either spouse wishes to separate, the Agency of Family Law may grant a legal separation if both parties agree on the separation and its terms.
Provided that both parties agree to divorce and agree on the terms of the divorce, they can elect to divorce immediately.
There are some extra steps to complete in order to be divorced immediately, if the spouses have mutual children under the age of 18. Information regarding these steps will be provided in connection to the application for immediate divorce.
Separation is an evaluation period during which the spouses live apart, but are still legally married. During this period, the spouses decide whether they wish to resume the marriage or whether they wish to divorce.
A divorce is not automatically granted after a separation. If the parties wish to divorce, they must submit a request to the Agency of Family Law. Until then, or until the parties resume their marriage, the separation will continue.
If the parties agree, they will be able to start the divorce proceedings at any given time after the separation.
If the parties disagree
Both parties have a right to a legal separation.
A person who does not wish to remain in his or her marriage always has the right to a separation, regardless of the wishes of the other spouse.
No reason or proof is required in order to obtain a separation.
After a separation period of six months, the spouses have the right to divorce, even if one spouse disagrees.
If one spouse wishes to divorce without prior separation, and the other spouse disagrees, the parties must start by requesting a separation.
Even if one spouse disagrees, the other may request a divorce without prior separation, if one of the following conditions is met:
- Your spouse has committed adultery
- The spouses have been living apart for at least two years because of disagreements
- Your spouse has committed acts of violence against you or your children
- Your spouse is married to someone else (bigamy)
- Your spouse has abducted your mutual child
The terms that need to be clarified in order to obtain a separation or a divorce are:
- spousal maintenance (spousal support)
- rights to a jointly rented home.
Please note that matters such as child support and division of property will not be negotiated when you apply for separation or divorce – these matters must be dealt with separately.
What do the parties need to do?
Spouses wishing to separate or divorce must apply to the Agency of Family Law and pay a fee for the processing of the application. If the spouses disagree on the terms of the separation or divorce, they must attend a meeting to negotiate terms. An additional fee applies to such a meeting.
Foreign nationals and residence outside Denmark
As a main rule, matrimonial matters can only be settled in Denmark, provided that at least one of the spouses can be considered a permanent resident of Denmark, or both spouses are Danish nationals.
A fee applies to separation and divorce applications. The Agency of Family Law will not commence the processing of any case until the applicable fees have been received.
- A separation costs DKK 650 from 1 January 2020
- A divorce costs DKK 650 from 1 January 2020
- A negotiation of terms costs an additional DKK 1.630 from 1 January 2020
Fees are non-refundable. Fees will not be reimbursed irrespective of the outcome of the application. If either spouse is uncertain about the possibility of obtaining a separation or a divorce in Denmark, the situation should be clarified before an application is submitted.
To pay a fee from abroad, please use the following information:
IBAN: DK24 0216 4069 1753 92
Please remember to state your Danish civil registration number (CPR no.) when making payment. If you do not have a Danish civil registration number, please state your full name, date of birth, and, if possible, your postal address. Otherwise, we will not be able to link your payment to your application.