Modern Relationships Podcast: Ep 1, The Changing Nature Of Modern Families

Author:Ms Mariella Frostrup, Suzanne Todd and Sharon Ser
Profession:Withers LLP

In our first episode, Mariella and Suzanne Todd explore how family structures have changed over the years, developing into a hugely varied number of arrangements, from the growth of unmarried cohabiting couples, to civil partnerships, same-sex marriages, transgender parents and the complexities of surrogacy and donors. Importantly though, the English legal system has not kept up with all of these modern family structures, leaving many people dangerously unprotected.

Takeaway points:

  1. Modern families are broad and wide, and in many areas the underlying legislation is still playing catch-up. There is good news with the prospective introduction of No Fault Divorce and the Law Commission's review of Surrogacy laws. However there are no immediate plans to change the laws governing unmarried couples living together or civil partnership.

    Whatever your situation, it is important to understand how the law affects you and your family.

  2. In England and Wales a child can have a maximum of two legal parents. In current family structures a child must have a legal mother and may also have a legal father or second parent. Other adults in the child's life can acquire Parental Responsibility (in other words, have all the legal rights and responsibilities which relate to bringing up a child) but may not be a legal parent.

  3. In 2014 the Children...

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