Associate parenthood – a proposal

LGBT komiteen's proposal on associate parenthood - a model for recognising three or four legal parents.

The child sees four parents – the law sees two parents and two strangers. This is the situation today in many rainbow families, as a child can only have two legal parents. It creates inequality and insecurity in families, everything we do not want for a family with children. LGBT komiteen wants to change that with a new proposal on associate parenthood.

Today, when two couples decide to start a family, the four parents are forced to decide which of them – legally speaking – must be related to the child and which must not. The fact that you are not related to your own child causes a number of problems, for example, that your child does not inherit from you, that you cannot represent your child on a school board, and that you do not receive notifications from the authorities about your child and much more. Most importantly: If a conflict were to arise, your child’s relationship with you is not protected, as you do not have access rights.

The proposal of LGBT komiteen

We want three or four people to be equal legal parents. The solution model of LGBT komiteen is an extension of existing family law: It is the parents who are designated by legislation today who must give consent to expand the circle of parents to include associate parents. With this construction, it is ensured that family law for this type of family does not replace existing family law principles, but supplements them.

The legal effects of associate parenthood are the same as for other kinds of parenthood. This means that it only requires minor edits to other legislation.

This corresponds to the introduction of co-mothers in Danish legislation in 2013. Co-parenting was a new type of parenting, but the legal effects are the same as for other parenting.

The construction of associate parenthood has been created with the aim of low complexity during implementation and that it does not affect existing family law.

Failure of opponents

Solutions with more than two legal parents have been previously discussed. However, they have always been rejected as they have been perceived as risky in relation to conflicts. But there is nothing more conflict-intensifying than an institutionalized risk of losing contact with one’s child – and that is how the situation is today.

This document is an English adaption of the Danish version from October 2023. It can be downloaded here: