Family matters

In this section you can find information that matter to families regarding various things. Much of the information can of course also be of help to individuals.


Family structure varies a lot and each family has different needs. Is the family or some of it´s members living in Iceland or planning to move here? What options are there for single parents when comes to daycare, child support and services for example.


You should be able to find information on this and many other things below.

Accordion Content

Information on the various types of family structure in Iceland – families are different but are all a natural part of Icelandic society. More about family types here.

There exists just one Marriage Act in Iceland and it applies equally to a man and a woman, two women and two men. General information on aspects relating to marriage and cohabitation.


People living in unmarried cohabitation have no maintenance obligations towards each other and are not each other’s legal heirs.


Either spouse can obtain a divorce, whether or not the other spouse agrees to a divorce. The first step is usually to authorise a legal separation, followed by a divorce after one year. A divorce may, however, be authorised after six months if both spouses agree on applying for a divorce at that point.


More about marriage, cohabitation and divorce here.

Parents are entitled to paid leave when they have a child, adopt a child or permanently foster a child. Parents receive either leave payments or birth grants from the Maternity and Paternity Leave Fund.


The amount paid depends on their status on the labour market. It is also possible to take parental leave, unpaid leave which parents can take until their child reaches the age of eight.


More on parental leave here.

Child support is a payment made for the support of one’s own child to the parent with custody of the child.


The parent with custody of the child receives child support payments in their own name but must use them for the good of the child.


Parents must support their children up the age of eighteen.


Child benefit is intended to help parents with children and to equalise their situation.


A certain amount is paid out to parents for each child up to the age of eighteen.


Further information about child support and benefits.


The nursery school is the first level in the schooling system, and is for children under the age of compulsory school attendance, i.e. under the age of 6. It is for all children, irrespective of mental and physical ability, culture or religion.


When maternity/paternity leave ends and the parents return to the labour market or begin studying, they need to find appropriate care for their child.


Day care means childcare between the hours of 7am and 7pm on working days in the private homes of childminders.


Further information on daycare and dayparents.

Social services are services provided by municipal authorities to their residents, such as the elderly and the disabled.


Social services include such things as providing people with accommodation or financial support where needed.


Foreign nationals who accept financial support could risk seeing their residence permit not renewed.


Read more about social support and services here.

Parents are required under the law to care for their children, to demonstrate care and respect, and to observe their duties of upbringing to meet the interests and needs of their children.


Bullying is violence and social ostracism and has serious consequences for the victim.

Bullying takes place between an individual and a group or between two individuals. Bullying can be verbal, social, material, mental and physical.


Here you find more information on children´s rights and bullying.

Did you know that you may be entitled to a grant from your local authority to enable your child to play sport or take part in leisure activities? As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, children born in the years 2005-2014 who live in households where the adults supporting them have a total income of less than ISK 740,000 per month, on average, in the months of March-July 2020 qualify for such grants.


Find out if you are entitled to this grant. Further information in many languages can be found here.

By law, the disabled are entitled to general services and assistance. They shall have equal rights and enjoy living standards comparable to other members of society.


Disabled people have the right to education with appropriate support at all stages of education.


They also have the right to guidance and assistance in finding suitable employment.

Members of the LGBTQAI+ community have the same rights as everybody else to register cohabitation.


Homosexuals who are married or in registered cohabitation may adopt children or have children using artificial insemination, subject to the usual conditions governing the adoption of children, and have the same rights as other parents if they have children previously.


More about this and other LGPTQ+ related issues.

On the website of Þjópskrá (Registers Iceland) is a lot of useful information about family related issues.

Please have a look.

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