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Stjärnfamiljer och kärnfamiljer - En kritisk diskussion kring flersamt föräldraskap i svensk familjerätt

Linnér, Maria LU (2014) JURM02 20141
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Hur vi väljer att organisera våra familjer har genomgått en radikal förändring sedan mitten av 1900-talet. Kärnfamiljen är visserligen fortfarande den vanligaste familjeformen, men den har i allt större utsträckning kommit att kompletteras med en rad icke-traditionella familje-konstellationer, bl.a. samkönade familjer.

Den här utvecklingen har naturligtvis också påverkat hur vi lever och praktiserar familjeliv. Medan den traditionella kärnfamiljen skulle kunna betecknas som stabil, konservativ och könad, kännetecknas dagens familjeliv av värden såsom föränderlighet, individualitet och – i alla fall till viss del – jämlikhet. Trots detta struktureras den föräldrarättsliga regleringen alltjämt utifrån den biologiska moderns relation till... (More)
Hur vi väljer att organisera våra familjer har genomgått en radikal förändring sedan mitten av 1900-talet. Kärnfamiljen är visserligen fortfarande den vanligaste familjeformen, men den har i allt större utsträckning kommit att kompletteras med en rad icke-traditionella familje-konstellationer, bl.a. samkönade familjer.

Den här utvecklingen har naturligtvis också påverkat hur vi lever och praktiserar familjeliv. Medan den traditionella kärnfamiljen skulle kunna betecknas som stabil, konservativ och könad, kännetecknas dagens familjeliv av värden såsom föränderlighet, individualitet och – i alla fall till viss del – jämlikhet. Trots detta struktureras den föräldrarättsliga regleringen alltjämt utifrån den biologiska moderns relation till barnet och den horisontella intimiteten mellan de biologiska/genetiska föräldrarna. På det stora hela tolkar såväl den nationella lagstiftningen som det unionsrättsliga och det internationella regelverket föräldraskap som ett resultat av biologiska och genetiska band. Detta medför att ett barn aldrig anses kunna ha mer än två (rättsliga) föräldrar, oavsett familjeform, samt att det endast är dessa relationer som anses vara i behov av rättsligt skydd. Synen på familjen som en sexuell-naturlig förening mellan man och kvinna fungerar som ideologisk utgångspunkt för lagstiftningen, vilket leder till att det är dessa normer som regelverket förstärker och reproducerar.

I och med att det är den sexuella familjen, the sexual family, som sätter gränserna för föräldraskapet exkluderas de föräldra- och barnrelationer som bygger på enbart sociala och psykologiska band. Detta, och det faktum att vårdnadshavaren saknar skyldighet att själv utföra den faktiska vårdnaden, bidrar till att rättsligt sett osynliggöra den sociala föräldern. Eftersom en social förälder utan föräldrastatus inte omfattas av de rättigheter och skyldigheter som följer det rättsliga föräldraskapet kommer barnet i realiteten att sakna legalt skydd för denna relation. I förlängningen innebär detta att barnet riskerar att förlora rätten till kontakt med den aktuella föräldern vid t.ex. en separation. Detta skulle kunna anses strida mot principen om barnet bästa, d.v.s. den princip som ska vara vägledande vid alla beslut rörande vårdnad, boende och umgänge. För att fullt ut kunna skydda barnets rättigheter krävs således att lagstiftningen ses över.

Icke desto mindre är flersamt föräldraskap en komplex fråga och en uppdaterad men otillräcklig lagstiftning riskerar att skapa nya problem. Förutsättningarna är naturligtvis goda då samtliga inblandade parter är överens om hur föräldrarelationerna och ansvaret för barnet ska organiseras, men så är dessvärre inte alltid fallet. I situationer där parterna inte är eniga kan en lagändring som tillåter fler än två föräldrar resultera i att människor tvingas in i familjekonstellationer de aldrig avsåg att skapa. Det finns också en risk att rättssystemet skulle behandla flersamma familjer som heterosexuella föräldrapar som genomgått en separation, utan förståelse och respekt för de premisser utifrån vilka föräldrarna valt att organisera sitt familjeliv. Dessutom kan de starka könsnormer som präglar familjelivet orsaka betydande problem; bl.a. kan betydelsen av föräldrafunktion och faktisk omvårdnad minska eftersom dessa vanligtvis utförs av kvinnor. Vidare kan den sociala moderns föräldraskap framställas som mindre legitimt p.g.a. att det saknar genetiska och biologiska band till barnet. Lesbiska familjer kan också komma att utmålas som faderslösa och ofullkomliga, vilket skulle undergräva den lesbiska familjen. Allt som allt kan alltså en reglering om flersamt föräldraskap leda till ökad fokus på det genetiskt (manliga) föräldraskapet och till att det sociala (kvinnliga) föräldraskapet nedvärderas. Sammantaget stärker detta de patriarkala strukturerna i familjerätten och ökar mäns makt över kvinnor.

Det kan emellertid finnas sätt att minska ovanstående risker. En betydande faktor är det rättsliga föräldraskapets rättsföljder. I svensk rätt fungerar föräldraskapet som ett paket: den som förklaras vara förälder i lagens mening erhåller per automatik samtliga rättigheter och skyldigheter som föräldraskapet innefattar, inklusive den rättsliga vårdnaden över barnet. Med tanke på att det är långtifrån alla som organiserar sitt familjeliv utifrån principen att alla föräldrar tar lika stort ansvar för barnet kan det ifrågasättas om det är lämpligt att den rättsliga vårdnaden följer föräldraskapet på detta vis. Det bör också påpekas att denna konstruktion kan öka risken för konflikter i familjer med fler än två rättsliga föräldrar. En potentiell lösning skulle kunna vara att erkänna relativa föräldrarättigheter, vilket skulle innebära att det rättsliga föräldraskapet separerades från vårdnads-havarskapet. Detta skulle betyda att ett barn skulle kunna ha fler än två föräldrar, utan att samtliga dessa skulle ha vårdnad om barnet.

En annan fråga som är intressant i sammanhanget är hur flersamt föräldraskap skulle kunna hanteras rent lagtekniskt. Även om tvåsamt föräldraskap är normen i västerländsk rätt finns såväl rättsvetenskapliga förslag som gällande lagstiftning som tillåter ett barn att ha fler än två rättsliga föräldrar. De flesta av dessa alternativ bygger dock på avtalsliknande konstruktioner. I korthet innebär dessa att ett kontrakt läggs till grund för föräldraskapet. Detta är onekligen intressanta och nytänkande lösningar. Likväl kan det anses problematiskt att lösningsmodellerna är så (neo)liberalt influerade, särskilt med tanke på att kontrakt och avtal tenderar att präglas av värden som är svåra att kombinera med familjerättens etiska aspekter. Det finns emellertid andra sätt att hantera frågan, t.ex. genom att kombinera en föräldrapresumtion för lesbiska makar med en samtyckes-reglering gällande flersamt föräldraskap.

Sammanfattningsvis skulle införandet av en reglering om flersamt föräldraskap i svensk familjerätt förmodligen inte vara lätt att genomföra. Icke desto mindre måste lagstiftningen kunna hantera dagens förändrade familjemönster och skydda även människor som lever utanför de traditionella (familje)normerna. (Less)
Abstract
How we choose to organize our families has changed significantly since the mid-20th century. It might be true that the nuclear family remains the most common family form. However, it has to an increasing extent been accompanied by a number of non-traditional families, including same-sex families.

Naturally, this development has also affected the way we live and how we practice family life. While the traditional nuclear family might be considered stable, conservative and highly gendered, family life of today is characterized by values such as changeableness, individuality and - at least to a certain degree - equality. In spite of this, the legal regulation of parenthood remains structured around the biological ties between the mother... (More)
How we choose to organize our families has changed significantly since the mid-20th century. It might be true that the nuclear family remains the most common family form. However, it has to an increasing extent been accompanied by a number of non-traditional families, including same-sex families.

Naturally, this development has also affected the way we live and how we practice family life. While the traditional nuclear family might be considered stable, conservative and highly gendered, family life of today is characterized by values such as changeableness, individuality and - at least to a certain degree - equality. In spite of this, the legal regulation of parenthood remains structured around the biological ties between the mother and the child and around the horizontal intimacy between the biological/genetic parents. Overall, the national legislation, as well as European and International law, is conceptualizing parenthood as a result of biological and genetic ties. Therefore, a child is never considered to have more than two (legal) parents, regardless of family form, and the relations between these parties are seen as the only ones in need of legal protection. The idea of the family as a sexual-natural union between a man and a woman works as an ideological base for the legislative framework, resulting in the strengthening and reproducing of these norms.

Since it is the sexual family that sets the limits of parenthood, purely social and psychological parent-child relations are excluded from legal protection. This, and the fact that a legal custodian has no obligation to personally carry out the actual care, contributes to making the social parent legally invincible. Due to the fact that a non-legal parents does not possess parental responsibility, and the rights and duties that follow from this, the child will lack legal protection for this relationship. Consequently, the child risks losing the right to contact with the social parent in case of e.g. a separation. This could be regarded as contravention of the best interest of the child, which is the principle that guides all legal decisions regarding custody and visitation. Thus, in order to fully protect children in families with more than two parents, the legislation needs to be revised.

Nevertheless, the issue of multiple parenthood is complex, and an updated yet inadequate legislation might in fact create new problems. Naturally, the conditions tend to be good when all the parties agree on how to organize the family relations and the parental responsibility. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In situations where the parties are deeply dived in this matter, multiple parenthood may result in people being forced into family-units they never intended to create. There is also a substantial risk that the judicial system would treat multiple parent-families as a result of a heterosexual break-up, lacking respect for the premises according to which the parents have chosen to organize their lives. Additionally, the strong gender norms regarding family life might cause significant difficulties: the emphasis on parental responsibility and actual care might diminish, since these are functions usually carried out by women. Also, the parenthood of the social mother might be seen as less legitimate, due to the fact that it lacks genetic and biological ties to the child. Moreover, lesbian families may be depicted as fatherless and incomplete, which would undermine the lesbian family-unit. All in all, a regulation regarding multiple parenthood may result in an increased focus on the genetic (male) parenthood and a devaluation of the social (female) parenthood. Subsequently, multiple parenthood could strengthen the patriarchic structures in family law, reinforcing men’s power over women.

However, there might be ways of reducing these risks. A significant factor is the legal concept of parenthood. In Swedish legislation, parenthood works as a bundle of rights; the person declared a legal parent automatically obtains all parental rights and duties, including legal custody. Bearing in mind that far from all people organize their family life according to the principle of equal responsibility, one could question whether legal guardianship really should be linked to parental status. Additionally, in the case of multiple parents, this construction might increase the likelihood of conflicts. A potential solution would be to recognize relative parental rights, meaning that legal custody would be partly separated from legal parenthood. As a result, a child would be able to have more than two parents, without all of them having legal custody of the child.

Another interesting aspect is how multiple parenthood would be incorporated in the legislation. Even if two-person parenthood is still the norm in Western law, there are academic proposals as well as actual legislation that allow a child to have more than two parents. Still, most of these alternatives are built upon a construction of contracts. In short, they let the contract form the base of parenthood. These are indeed interesting and progressive solutions. Nevertheless, the significant (neo)liberal influence on the models might be regarded as problematic, especially since contractual agreements tend to be characterized by values that are not easily combined with the ethics of family law. Yet, there are other ways of handling the issue of legislation in the area, e.g. combining a parental-presumption for a lesbian partner with a consent clause regarding multiple parenthood.

In sum, the introduction of multiple parenthood in Swedish family law would probably not be easily done. Nonetheless, the legislation needs to address the changing family patterns of our society, and the law must be able to offer legal protection also for the people living outside the traditional (family) norms. (Less)
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author
Linnér, Maria LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Traditional and Non-Traditional Families – A Critical Discussion Regarding Multiple Parenthood in Swedish Family Law
course
JURM02 20141
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Familjerätt, rättsligt föräldraskap, alternativa familjebildningar, icke-traditionella familjebildningar, regnbågsfamiljer, stjärnfamiljer, kritisk familjerätt, the sexual family, stjärnfamiljejuridik, flersamt föräldraskap, multipelt föräldraskap, law and political science
language
Swedish
id
4449054
date added to LUP
2014-06-12 08:55:24
date last changed
2014-06-12 08:55:24
@misc{4449054,
  abstract     = {How we choose to organize our families has changed significantly since the mid-20th century. It might be true that the nuclear family remains the most common family form. However, it has to an increasing extent been accompanied by a number of non-traditional families, including same-sex families. 

Naturally, this development has also affected the way we live and how we practice family life. While the traditional nuclear family might be considered stable, conservative and highly gendered, family life of today is characterized by values such as changeableness, individuality and - at least to a certain degree - equality. In spite of this, the legal regulation of parenthood remains structured around the biological ties between the mother and the child and around the horizontal intimacy between the biological/genetic parents. Overall, the national legislation, as well as European and International law, is conceptualizing parenthood as a result of biological and genetic ties. Therefore, a child is never considered to have more than two (legal) parents, regardless of family form, and the relations between these parties are seen as the only ones in need of legal protection. The idea of the family as a sexual-natural union between a man and a woman works as an ideological base for the legislative framework, resulting in the strengthening and reproducing of these norms. 

Since it is the sexual family that sets the limits of parenthood, purely social and psychological parent-child relations are excluded from legal protection. This, and the fact that a legal custodian has no obligation to personally carry out the actual care, contributes to making the social parent legally invincible. Due to the fact that a non-legal parents does not possess parental responsibility, and the rights and duties that follow from this, the child will lack legal protection for this relationship. Consequently, the child risks losing the right to contact with the social parent in case of e.g. a separation. This could be regarded as contravention of the best interest of the child, which is the principle that guides all legal decisions regarding custody and visitation. Thus, in order to fully protect children in families with more than two parents, the legislation needs to be revised. 

Nevertheless, the issue of multiple parenthood is complex, and an updated yet inadequate legislation might in fact create new problems. Naturally, the conditions tend to be good when all the parties agree on how to organize the family relations and the parental responsibility. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In situations where the parties are deeply dived in this matter, multiple parenthood may result in people being forced into family-units they never intended to create. There is also a substantial risk that the judicial system would treat multiple parent-families as a result of a heterosexual break-up, lacking respect for the premises according to which the parents have chosen to organize their lives. Additionally, the strong gender norms regarding family life might cause significant difficulties: the emphasis on parental responsibility and actual care might diminish, since these are functions usually carried out by women. Also, the parenthood of the social mother might be seen as less legitimate, due to the fact that it lacks genetic and biological ties to the child. Moreover, lesbian families may be depicted as fatherless and incomplete, which would undermine the lesbian family-unit. All in all, a regulation regarding multiple parenthood may result in an increased focus on the genetic (male) parenthood and a devaluation of the social (female) parenthood. Subsequently, multiple parenthood could strengthen the patriarchic structures in family law, reinforcing men’s power over women. 

However, there might be ways of reducing these risks. A significant factor is the legal concept of parenthood. In Swedish legislation, parenthood works as a bundle of rights; the person declared a legal parent automatically obtains all parental rights and duties, including legal custody. Bearing in mind that far from all people organize their family life according to the principle of equal responsibility, one could question whether legal guardianship really should be linked to parental status. Additionally, in the case of multiple parents, this construction might increase the likelihood of conflicts. A potential solution would be to recognize relative parental rights, meaning that legal custody would be partly separated from legal parenthood. As a result, a child would be able to have more than two parents, without all of them having legal custody of the child. 

Another interesting aspect is how multiple parenthood would be incorporated in the legislation. Even if two-person parenthood is still the norm in Western law, there are academic proposals as well as actual legislation that allow a child to have more than two parents. Still, most of these alternatives are built upon a construction of contracts. In short, they let the contract form the base of parenthood. These are indeed interesting and progressive solutions. Nevertheless, the significant (neo)liberal influence on the models might be regarded as problematic, especially since contractual agreements tend to be characterized by values that are not easily combined with the ethics of family law. Yet, there are other ways of handling the issue of legislation in the area, e.g. combining a parental-presumption for a lesbian partner with a consent clause regarding multiple parenthood. 

In sum, the introduction of multiple parenthood in Swedish family law would probably not be easily done. Nonetheless, the legislation needs to address the changing family patterns of our society, and the law must be able to offer legal protection also for the people living outside the traditional (family) norms.},
  author       = {Linnér, Maria},
  keyword      = {Familjerätt,rättsligt föräldraskap,alternativa familjebildningar,icke-traditionella familjebildningar,regnbågsfamiljer,stjärnfamiljer,kritisk familjerätt,the sexual family,stjärnfamiljejuridik,flersamt föräldraskap,multipelt föräldraskap,law and political science},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Stjärnfamiljer och kärnfamiljer - En kritisk diskussion kring flersamt föräldraskap i svensk familjerätt},
  year         = {2014},
}