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Alternative family structures

Alternative family structures

SKU: 3.28
  • Advice

    In today's age, family structures can vary significantly from the traditional nuclear family structures we often used to see. For example, families can range from single-parent residence to grandparents raising kids, co-parents who don't share the same home, to same-sex couples raising their families. In cases such as this, a legal parent is responsible for a child irrespective of biological relation. The child may also acquire their nationality and inherit their property.


    Heterosexual Couples (Unmarried) in Civil Partnerships

    The rights and responsibilities under a civil partnership are equivalent to that of marriage. Therefore, it is advisable to establish an agreement to ensure the future rights and liabilities of any children conceived.


    Married Couple Conceiving their child through donated eggs or sperms

    A couple that conceives their child through a donated egg or sperm is considered legal parents of the child regardless of biological relation. However, it is advised that you implement a preconception agreement to avoid any disputes about the child in the future.


    Gay or Lesbian Couples

    Same-sex couples that live together in a civil partnership can both be the legal parents of a child who has been conceived either through artificial insemination or IVF. There are multiple options available for LGBTQ+ couples looking to acquire a child, these include IVF, surrogacy, fostering or adoption. However, there are different rules associated with these varying forms of child acquisition. For example, court intervention is needed to reinstitute the intended parents as legal parents and extinguish any legal hold a surrogate and their spouse may have over a child. 


    Extended Families

    In cases wherein a relationship between a couple does not end amicably, extended families such as grandparents can apply for a child arrangement order in a family court to stay in contact with their grandchild. Suppose it is in the best interests of a child. The custody may also be granted to the grandparents by the court depending on the particular situation.


    Children living with grandparents

    If a child resides with Grandparents, the courts can grant legal recognition through the Special guardianship act to secure the rights of both the grandparents and the child. This thereby provides the grandparents with the responsibility and the legal rights of a child. For more information on this see our section on “Grandparents”.

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