The Modern Family: Relationships and the Law

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The Modern Family: Relationships and the Law


A legal guide to the modern Irish family


Authors: Tim Bracken  | ISBN: 978-1-905536-89-4  | Format: Paper Back
Price:€35  | Publishing 24 October 2016


The Modern Family: Relationships and the Law is a new book which seeks to set out and explain the law as it relates to all families and the relationship between its different members.

The definition of the family in Ireland has changed enormously in the past generation. Recently there has been ground changing legislation which has helped redefine the changing legal definition of what constitutes a family. For example, the Marriage Act 2015 which recognises full legal marriage between two persons of the same sex. The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015,  gives full legal recognition to children born as a result of IVF and their parents, who may not be the biological parents. The Gender Recognition Act 2015 allows transgendered persons to register their preferred gender and recognises a marriage of a transgendered person subsequent to their change of gender.

Furthermore, the law recognises persons who live as a couple, with or without children, who are not married. Formerly these persons acquired little or no legal rights as a result of their relationship and found themselves a type of ‘legal no man’s land’. This was addressed in 2010 with the passing of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights of Cohabitants Act 2010.

The chapters on marriage sand civil partnerships set out how to enter such relationships, the rights and obligations of each party with the legal relationship with children, taxation and what happens when the relationship breaks down. A chapter dealing with cohabitants explains the legal rights and obligations which arise once a cohabitation is established.

There is a separate chapter on children which outlines the rights and obligations of both parents and children.

Death is and inevitability in all relationships, whether it be marriage, civil partnership and/or cohabitation. The chapter on succession sets out the basis of succession rights of persons in a family or relationship.

Donor Assisted Human Reproduction (DAHR) or IVF has become a popular option for couples who have difficulty in having children. This area of human reproduction, although in use since the 1970s, remained totally unregulated until the passing of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 which now gives legal certainty to parties to such a procedure and the chapter on Donor Assisted Human Reproduction sets out how and when the Act will apply.

Assisted/joint decision making will apply and is available to everyone whether married, civil partnered, cohabitant or single. This is a new innovative concept in Irish law and is ground breaking. Utilised properly it gives persons certain control in their lives which might previously have been lost due to some cognitive impairment.

Advance Healthcare Directives (AHD) gives persons control over future medical treatment when they lose capacity.  It gives persons the right to refuse medical intervention even though it may result in their death and gives protection to the attending medical personnel. Effectively a person can now direct that no resuscitation is to take place.

Finally there is a chapter entitled Frequently Asked Questions which will provide the reader with a quick reference to the various topics dealt with in the book.

Contents include:

Chapter 1: Introduction/The Family

Chapter 2: Marriage

Chapter 3: Civil Partnership

Chapter 4: Cohabitants

Chapter 5: Court Procedures

Chapter 6: Children

Chapter 7: Succession

Chapter 8: Donor Assisted Human Reproduction

Chapter 9: Assisted/Joint Decision Making

Chapter 10: Advance Healthcare Directives

Chapter 11: Powers of Attorney

Chapter 12: Frequently Asked Questions

About the Author

Tim Bracken is a practising barrister and author of Criminal Definitions and co-author of The Probate Handbook and The Probate Handbook Companion, all published by Clarus Press.


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