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Tijdschrift Family & Law x

    In 2016 the Dutch Government Commission of Reassessment of Parenthood (GCRP) proposed a wide array of legal changes to Family Law, e.g. with regard to legal multi-parenthood and legal multiple parental responsibility. Although the commission researched these matters thoroughly in its quest towards proposing new directions in the field of Family Law, multi-parents themselves were not interviewed by the commission. Therefore, this article aims to explore a possible gap between the social experiences of parents and the recommendations of the GCRP. Data was drawn from in depth-interviews with a sample of 25 parents in plus-two-parent constellations living in Belgium and the Netherlands. For the most part the social experiences of parents aligned with the ways in which the GCRP plans to legally accommodate the former. However, my data tentatively suggests that other (legal) recommendations of the GCRP need to be explored more in depth.
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    In 2016 stelde de Nederlandse Staatscommissie Herijking ouderschap voor om een wettelijk kader te creëren voor meerouderschap en meeroudergezag. Ondanks de grondigheid van het gevoerde onderzoek ontbraken er gegevens omtrent de ervaringen van de meerouders zelf. Dit artikel levert een bijdrage in het vullen van deze leemte door inzage te geven in de (juridische) ervaringen van 25 ouders in meerouderschapsconstellaties in België en Nederland.


Nola Cammu MA
Nola Cammu is PhD Candidate at the Law Faculty of the University of Antwerp.

    The comparative discussions held during this seminar show that the different jurisdictions make use of – approximately – the same ingredients for their legislation on adult guardianship measures and continuing powers of attorney. Given the common international framework (for example the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and given the common societal context (cfr. the strong increase of the ageing population) this may not come as a surprise. Despite these common ingredients, the different jurisdictions have managed to arrive at different dishes spiced with specific local flavours. Given that each jurisdiction bears its own history and specific policy plans, this may not come as a surprise either. The adage ‘same same but different’ is in this respect a suitable bromide.
    For my own research, the several invitations – that implicitly or explicitly arose from the different discussions – to rethink important concepts or assumptions were of most relevance and importance. A particular example that comes to mind is the suggestion to ‘reverse the jurisprudence’ and to take persons with disabilities instead of healthy adult persons as a point of reference. Also, the invitation to rethink the relationship between the limitation of capacity and the attribution of a guard comes to mind as the juxtaposition of the different jurisdictions showed that these two aspects don’t need to be automatically combined. Also the discussion on the interference between the continuing powers of attorney and the supervision by the court, provoked further reflection on hybrid forms of protection on my part. Finally, the ethical and medical-legal approaches may lead to a reconsideration of the traditional underlying concepts of autonomy and the assessment of capacity.


Veerle Vanderhulst Ph.D.
Veerle Vanderhulst works at the Faculty of Law and Criminology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

    Legal position of a known donor constitutes an ongoing challenge. Known donors are often willing to play a role in the child’s life. Their wishes range from scarce involvement to aspiring legal parentage. Therefore three persons may wish for parental role. This is not catered for in the current laws allowing only for two legal parents. Several studies show how lesbian mothers and a donor ’devise new definitions of parenthood’ extending ’beyond the existing normative framework’. However, the diversity in the roles of the donors suggests a split of parental rights between three persons rather than three traditional legal parents. In this article I will discuss three jurisdictions (Quebec, Sweden and the Netherlands), allowing co-mother to become legal parent other than by a step-parent adoption. I will examine whether these jurisdictions attempt to accommodate specific needs of lesbian families by splitting up parentage ’package’ between the duo-mothers and the donor.


Prof. mr. Masha Antokolskaia Ph.D.
Masha Antokolskaia is professor of Private Law (in particular, Personal Status and Family Law) at the VU University Amsterdam. She is a member of the Commission on European Family Law (CEFL) and a board member of the International Society of Family Law. She is author of a diverse range of monographs and articles written in Dutch, English and Russian. Her main research areas are: European comparative Family Law and Dutch Family Law, with particular regard to the law relating to relationships, parentage and divorce.
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