A child should be able to have four parents. Parents should be able to draw contracts, detailing the competencies of each parent, financial responsibilities, or even the child’s surname.
That is one of 68 recommendations of a “committee for the reassessment of parenthood” commissioned by the Dutch government over 2,5 years ago.
The initial assessment is that multiple-parenthood is, de facto, common. Divorced parents forming a new household, Rainbow families, and single parents have reached a critical mass and can no longer be seen as the exception to the norm. The report was presented to justice minister Ard van der Steur on Wednesday, the Dutch Public Broadcaster (NOS) reports.
Taking into consideration how Dutch society is changing, the committee chaired by the Labour Party politician and former Mayor of Utrecht, Aleid Wolfsen , is proposing a complete overhaul of Dutch family law.
Two basic assumptions underpin the recommendations. First, that “family” and “household” are two different things, reflecting a plethora of living arrangements in modern society. Secondly, the committee believes there needs to be a shift from the biological link that establishes the connection between the child and the parent to take into account other social factors.
Going further, the report suggests children should be able to influence their own living arrangements from the age of eight rather than twelve.
All these revolutionary suggestions are meant to reflect emerging forms of household and parenthood and have the potential of affecting profoundly policy across the board, from welfare to taxation.
One of the challenges such post-modern extended families would face is that their legal rights recognized in the Netherlands would not mean much in the context of other legal systems. Therefore, the committee recommends that the Netherlands takes a lead in the international arena on the subject.