Separation and divorce
A married couple who no longer wish to live together may petition for a decree of separation. The petition should be sent to the County Governor of the county in which you last cohabited. If neither of you still lives in that county, you should send the petition to the County Governor of the current county of residence of either yourself or your spouse. If you are the joint parents of children who are still aged under 16, the petition must be accompanied by a certificate of mediation dated within the last six months. Your separation decree will be sent to you by the County Governor.
Once a year has passed from the date of your separation decree, either of you may petition for a divorce. If only one of you wants to get divorced, that person will be entitled to a obtain a divorce despite the other person's objection.
In addition, either of you may obtain a divorce if you have been living separately for at least two years. If you both agree that you have been living separately for at least two years, your divorce petition will be processed by the County Governor. If you disagree as to whether the relevant criteria are satisfied, your divorce will have to be dealt with by the courts.
If you move back in with your spouse after having obtained a separation decree, it will be necessary to file an official notification of reconciliation. You should send this notification to the tax office, which will amend your civil statuses.
Advice and assistance in cases of separation and divorce
Children and family breakdown
Circular relating to the Marriage Act
Mediation for parents
Bufetat (child protection and family welfare services) – regions
Norwegian Tax Administration
Applications for the recognition of foreign divorces and separations
When is it necessary to apply for recognition from the County Governor?
If you were divorced abroad and are intending to remarry in Norway, your foreign divorce must be approved by the County Governor. Unless you obtain such an approval, the tax authorities will not process your application for a "prøvingsattest" (a certificate of no impediment to marriage). You must have this certificate in order to remarry.
If you separated from your spouse abroad, your separation must be approved by the Norwegian authorities before the County Governor can process your divorce petition. You must apply for approval to the County Governor of the county in which you live.
You must produce your divorce or separation decree. This can be either the original document or a copy certified by a lawyer, public servant or professional copying business. You will need to have your divorce decree legalised and you may need to obtain an apostille stamp.
If your divorce or separation decree is in a language other than English, German or French, you must have it translated by a State-authorised translator. You must produce either the original translation or a copy certified by a lawyer, public servant or professional copying business.
Decree of divorce or separation must be final
The decree or other approved document must include a statement by the court that the document has legal effect.
Divorces and separations granted in other Nordic countries
You do not need to have your separation or divorce decree approved by the County Governor if you are both citizens of Nordic countries and were resident in a Nordic country on the date of the separation or divorce petition. In this case you should send your separation or divorce decree directly to the Norwegian Tax Administration so that it can register your new civil status.
You will however have to obtain the County Governor's approval of your separation or divorce decree if, on the date of the separation or divorce petition, one of the parties was not a citizen of, and/or not resident in, a Nordic country.
Marriage annulments by foreign courts
The County Governor is also responsible for processing applications for the approval of marriage annulments. Where a marriage has been annulled, it means that foreign court has declared the marriage to be invalid. In such cases the requirements concerning documentation and the finality of the judgment are the same as apply in the case of foreign divorces.