Brief

Judicial opt-out compromises Danish families’ legal security

Judicial opt-out compromises Danish families’ legal security

Summary Every year more than 1000 Danes marry a citizen of another EU country. Because of the judicial opt-out, these couples face greater uncertainty in the event of divorce and parental custody disputes. This problem is exemplified by the Oliver case, in which a Danish father and an Austrian mother have battled for sole custody of their child.

Reaching a parallel agreement with the other EU countries to ensure the rights of the children in these matters is not possible. Abolishing the legal opt-out or replacing it with an opt-in agreement is therefore the only option to ensure that Danish children get the same rights as other children with parents from different EU countries.

Main conclusion
  • Every year 140,000 couples from different EU countries are divorced. Because of this, common EU-rules are needed on divorce and custody.
  • Couples and children from Denmark risk a legal squeeze because Denmark is not part of the common EU law.
  • The EU is planning new initiatives to ensure the rights of the children. Denmark cannot be part of these either.
  • Denmark has asked for a parallel agreement in this field but did not get it. This means that the only way that Denmark can be part of the common EU laws is by abolishing the opt-out agreement or replacing it with an opt-in version.
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