What is a family ?
A family in Finland is formed by
- common-law husband and wife
- under 18-year-old unmarried child or children and their guardian or guardians living in Finland
The Finnish concept of a family is narrower than that of many other countries. In Finland, a family is most often considered to consist of the nuclear family, i.e. the parents and children. For example, if grandparents, parents and children live together in the same home, officially only the parents and children form a family. The grandparents are a separate family of their own.
A family may include children or a childless couple can form a family. The adults of a family can be of the opposite or same sex. A family can also consist of a single mother or father and his or her children.
A stepfamily refers to a couple that has a child or several children from the couple’s previous relationships living with them. The couple may also have children together.
If you are divorced, you can remarry without the permission of your previous spouse. According to Finnish law, you do not need permission from your previous spouse to remarry even if you have had children together.
Rainbow families are families of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual parents and their children. They include, for example, families with same-sex parents and families that have more than two parents.
If spouses of the same sex are married, they have the right to adopt a child or carry out an adoption inside the family. Adoption inside the family means that a spouse adopts the child of his or her spouse and officially becomes the second parent of that child. In Finland, a child can have no more than two legal guardians.
If you are planning an adoption inside your family, contact the social services office of your municipality.
The Rainbow Families Association is an association that supports and advises rainbow families and organises activities for them. Contact information is available here linkki
According to Finnish law, parents are obliged to take financial care of their underage children and spouses of each other. Maintenance liability for family members does not extend to other relatives, such as grown-up siblings or grandparents. In Finland, private people are not expected to look after their relatives who are in a poorer financial situation than they are. The necessary support is given by the society in the form of social security.
People living permanently in the same dwelling together belong in the same household. More information on household is available here Housing.