The family structure

There are many kinds of family structures in Iceland and they are all a natural part of the Icelandic society.

Family types can be:

  • The traditional family, or a nuclear family, consists of a child or children and the birth parents (genetic parents).
  • Single parent, a single mother or a father, is when a man/woman lives alone with his/her child or children.
  • Step-family is when a family consists of a child or children, a natural parent and a step-parent or common law partner that assumes parental obligations. Both the natural parent and the step-parent often have their own children from previous relationships, so the children get step-siblings and the family image can get quite varied.
  • In foster families, parents foster children that are not their own for varying lengths of time.
  • Adoptive families are where parents have adopted a child or children.
  • In Iceland there is only one law regarding marriage, and the marital act applies equally to a man and a woman, two men and two women. 
  • Gays and lesbians may adopt children or have children by artificial insemination, and if they already have children, they have the same rights and obligation as other parents.

Violence within the family, as violence in general in the society, is strictly forbidden. It is illegal to use violence on ones partner or children, neither mental nor physical. Violence within the family may be charged to the police and in cases of violence towards children, it must be reported to  barnaverndarstofa, the Governmental Agency for Child Protection, or to the police.