Children and family

Marriage rights and obligations


Excerpt from the Marriage Act:

  • Anyone over the age of 18 who is not already married and living in Norway legally can enter into marriage.
  • All marriages must be entered into voluntarily. Men and women have the same right to choose their own marriage partner. The Penal Code states that any person who forces another person into marriage using violence, deprivation of liberty, coercion or threats can be punished by up to six years of imprisonment. Complicity is punishable in the same way.
  • If a person decides that he or she no longer wishes to live together with their spouse, he or she can seek separation. After the couple has been separated for one year, they can apply for a divorce. If no separation is sought, but the couple leaves apart for two years, they can also be granted a divorce. Men and women have the same right to seek separation and apply for a divorce.
  • A spouse can demand a divorce without separation if the other spouse has attempted to kill him or her or their children or been violent towards them, severely abused them or behaved in a manner that arouse grave fear of such conduct. A spouse can also demand a divorce if he or she has been forced into the marriage.
    There are also rights attached to residence permits if one breaks out of marriage for these reasons.
  • Spouses share the responsibility to provide for and care for the family. They share the economic responsibility and together are responsible for all necessary work to ensure the well-being of the family. They can contribute to this in different ways, either by earning an income, working in the home, watching the children or other ways. In some cases, a spouse can demand payment by the other spouse to cover necessary expenses. Section § 39 of the Marriage Act states that spouses are required to provide each other with financial information. For example, a spouse can request a copy of the other spouse’s income tax return, bank statements, and so on.
  • Who owns what in a marriage? Everything owned by a person before getting married is still owned by that person after getting married. In addition, all inheritances and gifts received after getting married and personal purchases are owned by that individual. The property owned can be sold or given away without the other spouse’s permission. Everything purchased by the couple together or for the home is owned by the couple.


The Marriage Act

The Marriage Act regulates issues relating to marriage. Cohabitants do not have the same rights and obligations in relation to each other as married couples do. Couples who live together should therefore make a cohabitation agreement.