Parental authority procedures

This is a print of a page on Look for the most up-to-date information on ( This page is printed on 01-01-1970.

Skip Navigation LinksDutch legal proceedings > Parental authority > Parental authority procedures

If you have authority over a child under the age of 18, this means that you must raise and care for the child. Parents often automatically acquire parental authority (ouderlijk gezag), but sometimes it needs to be requested from the courts. Court proceedings relating to parental authority are governed by civil law. Consulting a lawyer may or may not be mandatory, depending on the situation.

Parental authority procedures

The law prescribes how parental authority is organised in your situation. Do you want to organise it differently? If so, you can apply to the district court. See which situation applies to you below. 

Applying for joint parental authority using a form

As legal parents, are you unmarried and not in a civil partnership? Then there is a difference between whether the child (including an unborn child) was recognised before or after 1 January 2023. 

Was the child recognised before 1 January 2023? Then you can apply for joint parental authority together using a form. This can be done online or in writing. A lawyer is not required. 

Was the child recognised after 1 January 2023? If so, you will automatically have joint parental authority over the child, unless any of the exceptions apply. You do not need to do anything.

Parental authority petition procedure

As a parent, do you want to obtain joint parental authority with a non-parent? Or, as a parent, do you want to apply to the court for sole parental authority? Then you can start the parental authority petition procedure. You must appoint a lawyer for this procedure.

Procedure for applying for a declaration of age of majority as an underage mother

If you are a mother aged 16 or 17, you can obtain parental authority over your child by applying to the court for a meerderjarigheidsverklaring (declaration of age of majority). A minor father cannot apply for a statement of age of majority in relation to the child. However, he can recognise the child.


Are you a concerned party in parental authority proceedings?

Has a petition for parental authority or a declaration of age of majority been submitted to the district court? And have you received a copy of this petition? This means that the court will involve you as a concerned party in the petition procedure. You can respond to the petition as a concerned party before the court.



The Parental Authority Register contains parental authority decisions and is public. Anyone can request an extract from the Parental Authority Register. 




How can I obtain parental authority over my child if I am a minor?

Are you the biological mother and 16 or 17 years of age? You can ask the court for a meerderjarigheidsverklaring (declaration of age of majority) (in Dutch) as an underage mother. A minor father cannot apply for parental authority.

How long does the application for joint parental authority take when using the form?

After 2 weeks, you will receive an extract from the gezagsregister at the address where the child is registered. From that moment on, you have joint parental authority of your child.

How much does the application cost when using the form?

If you submit the application online, it is free of charge. If you apply by post, you will have to pay for certain municipal documents.

Legal advice

Would you like personal advice on your situation? Do you need assistance with drafting documents or during the hearing? You have the option at all times to engage the services of a lawyer or other legal advisor. A lawyer is not required for every case.

Contact the Rechtspraak Service Centre

Social media

Ask your question on:

volg ons op X (Twitter) X (Twitter)

Be careful when you share private information on social media.


We are open from Monday to Thursday from 08:00 until 20:00, and on Friday from 08:00 until 17:30.

Currently it is busier than usual, the waiting time may increase. We will respond as soon as possible.