George Hodan /


One Child – many Parents

Discussion paper about “Verantwortungsgemeinschaften” in the coalition agreement (2021-2025) as a possible legal framework for multiple-parent-families (“Regenbogenfamilien”)

The major reform of family law planned by the federal government includes the new legal institution of the "community of responsibility". Associations in the queer context have great expectations of the new legal institute, which is supposed to legally secure the new family form of multi-parent rainbow families. What do we know about multi-parent rainbow families? What needs to be taken into account in the legal design?

The Federal Minister for Justice, Marco Buschman, is heading for "probably biggest family law reform in decades", as he puts it. This also includes the new legal institution of the "Verantwortungsgemeinschaften", which is already anchored in the coalition agreement. However, the government has not provided a clear definition of “Verantwortungsgemeinschaften”.

Only a few examples are being put forth, like retired persons who are sharing an apartment. Apart from the public, “Verantwortungsgemeinschaften” have been discussed for some years now, including queer multiple-parent-families. 

In this new type of family, there are more than two parents, at least one of whom identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ framework. The government has announced to publish a key points paper on “Verantwortungsgemeinschaften” this year, but it is not clear if every family form will be included. In contrast, organizations representing queer families as well as experts in family law are placing high expectations on the forthcoming new law.

In Germany, queer multiple-parent-families are already in existence. This discussion paper deals with different perspectives on this new form of family-making. One focus is on the perspective of children, who are a minority in Germany and unable to speak up for themselves – very much in contrast to minority groups of adults.

Read the German-language publication „One Child – many Parents“ here as a PDF.

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