Parental responsibility

Parental responsibility is the duty and right parents have to make decisions for the child in personal matters. Parents with joint parental responsibility must both agree on important decisions concerning the child. 

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Register parental responsibility

If you have parental responsibility, you can do the following:

  • Report a move for the child
  • Change the name for the child
  • Order certificates for the child
  • Get information about the child
  • Order a passport for the child
  • Open a bank account and order a bank card for the child
  • Make decisions concerning the child’s medical treatment.
  • Select type of school.
  • Register in a religious community.

If you do not have parental responsibility, but are the child’s parent:

  • you can order a certificate and/or information about the child by sending a substantiated, written request to the Tax Administration.
  • In this case, the National Population Register is not allowed to tell you who has parental responsibility.

If you are unsure whether you are registered with parental responsibility in the National Population Register, you can check it on My page.

Children born 1 January 2020 or later

For children born from and including 1 January 2020, the parents will generally have joint parental responsibility. This applies to children with married parents, with cohabiting parents and with parents who do not live together. 

Parents who do not live together may, within one year after the paternity has been declared, notify the National Population Register that the mother claims sole parental responsibility. If the father still wishes to retain joint parental responsibility, he may take the case to court. The court will perform a specific and individual assessment to conclude what’s best for the child. Read more about the rules at  

If the parents take separate residences, they still have joint parental responsibility. They can change the parental responsibility in order for one of the parents to have sole parental responsibility. This is done by a new agreement between the parents or by a decision from the the courts. To validate the agreement or the court decision, it must be submitted to and registered in the National Population Register.

Children born before 1 January 2020

Married parents

Parents who are married when the child is born are automatically awarded joint parental responsibility.

Cohabitant parents

Parents who have the same address in the National Population Register when the father signs the paternity declaration are automatically awarded joint parental responsibility if the child was born after 1 January 2006.

Non-cohabitant parents

When the parents do not live together, the mother gets sole parental responsibility. The decision is based on the address the parents had at the time the paternity declaration was signed.

Children born abroad

Other rules apply for children born abroad.