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Personal matters

Family Types

In today’s society, there are many families that are different from what we call a nuclear family. We have stepfamilies, families with a single parent, families headed by parents of the same sex, adoptive families and foster families, just to name a few.

Family types

A single parent is a man or a woman living alone with their child or children. Divorce is common in Iceland. It is also common for a single person to have a child without being married or living with a partner.

This means that families with just one parent and a child, or children, living together, are common.

Parents looking after their children alone are entitled to receive child support from the other parent. They are also entitled to a higher amount of child benefits, and they pay lower daycare fees than families with two parents in the same household.

Step-families consist of a child or children, a biological parent, and a step parent or cohabiting parent who has assumed a parental role.

In foster families, foster parents undertake to care for children over a longer or shorter period, depending on the circumstances of the children.

Adoptive families are families with a child or children who have been adopted.

People in same-sex marriages may adopt children or have children using artificial insemination, subject to the usual conditions governing the adoption of children. They have the same rights as any other parents.


Violence within the family is prohibited by law. It is prohibited to inflict physical or mental violence on one’s spouse or children.

Domestic violence should be reported to the police by calling 112 or via the online chat on www.112.is.

If you suspect that a child is being subjected to violence, or that they are living in unacceptable conditions or that their health and development is at risk, you are obliged by law to report it to the Government Agency for Child Protection.