Child’s Life, Step-Family and Decision-Making Process


Step-families are included within the concept of “family” used by both Art. 8 of the Rome Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and Art. 7 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights of 2010. According to the OECD and EUROSTAT figures children that are living in step-families are between 8 and 12 years old, that is, they could be considered as preadolescents or in some cases adolescents at all. Thus, they are individuals with a certain grade of maturity that allow them to form their own views and express them. Today, there is an inevitable link between family and children’s participation rights (Art. 12 CRC; Art. 24 EU Charter). Nevertheless, European Law refers to the step-family from the “adult’s rights” viewpoint concerning the assignment of the parental responsibility to the step-parent neglecting children’s perspective. As said by Art. 6(1) EU Treaty of Lisbon and by Art. 52(2) EU Charter, the last legal instrument has the same legal recognition as the EU Treaties, which implies that the bedrock for direct and vertical application of the fundamental rights of children by both the EUCJ and national Courts is settled. Since 2006 one of the strategic objectives of the communitarian institutions is prioritizing the effective implementation of children’s rights.

Share and Cite:

S. Navarro, "Child’s Life, Step-Family and Decision-Making Process," Beijing Law Review, Vol. 4 No. 2, 2013, pp. 61-70. doi: 10.4236/blr.2013.42008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Bar-Hava, G., & Pryor, J. (1998). Cinderella’s challenge-adjustment to stepfamilies in the 1990s. Child and Family Law Quarterly, 10, 257 280.
[2] 33See: Communication on Strategic Objectives 2005-2009.
[3] Beck-Gernsheim, E. (2002). Reinventing the family (pp. 8-15). Cam bridge & Oxford.
[4] Berstein, A. C. (1999). Reconstructing the brothers grimm: New tales for Stepfamily life. Family Process, 38, 415-429. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.1999.00415.x
[5] Boele-Woelki, K. (2008). The CEFL principles regarding parental re sponsibilities: Predominance of the common core. In K. Boele-Woelki, & T. Sverdrup (Eds.), European Challenges in Contemporary Family Law (pp. 70-71). Antwerp, Oxford & Portland: Intersentia.
[6] Boele-Woelki, K., Ferrand, F., González Beilfuss, C., Jantera-Jareborg, M., Lowe, N., Martigny, D., & Pintens, W. (2007). Principles of European family law regarding parental responsabilities (pp. 70-77). Antwerp, Oxford & Portland: Intersentia.
[7] Boele-Woelki, K., Braat, B., & Curry-Sumner, I. (2005). European family law in action, V. III: Parental responsibilities (pp. 77-80,389 391, 477-480). Antwerp & Oxford: Intersentia.
[8] Cano Bazaga, E. (2013) El derecho de familia comunitarizado: La com petencia judicial internacional de los tribunales espanoles en material de crisis matrimoniales y responsabilidad parental.
[9] Cherney, I. D., Greteman, A. J., & Traves, B. G. (2008). A cross-cultural view of adults’ perceptions of children’s rights. Social Justice Research, 21, 447-448. doi:10.1007/s11211-008-0079-7
[10] De Cruz, P. (2010). Family law, sex and society. A comparative study of family law (pp. 325-329). London: Routledge.
[11] Edwards, R. (2002). Creating stability for children in step-families: Time and substance of parenting. Conference Series, 6, 154-167.
[12] Eekelaar, J. (2006). Family law and personal life (pp. 155-157). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[13] Eekelaar, J. (1991). Parental responsibility: State of nature or the nature of the state? Journal of Social Welfare & Family Law, 13, 37-50. doi:10.1080/09649069108413929
[14] Eekelaar, J. (1998). Do parents have a duty to consult? The Law Quarterly Review, 114, 337-341.
[15] Eurostat (2010). Household structure in the EU (pp. 20-25). Brussels: Author.
[16] Eurostat (2009). Reconciliation between work, private and family life in the EU (pp. 22-49). Brussels: Author.
[17] Eurostat (2012). Figures for the future. 20 years of sustainable development in Europe? A guide for citizens (pp. 129-140). Brussels: Author.
[18] Ferrer Riba, J. (2010). Principles and prospects for a European system of child protection. Indret.
[19] Freeman, M. (2010). Disputing children. In M. Freeman (Ed.), Family values and family justice. Collected essays in law (p. 58). Surrey: Ashgate.
[20] Goldscheider, F., & Sassler, S. (2006). Creating stepfamilies: Integrating children into the study of union formation. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 68, 275-291. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00252.x
[21] Harris-Short, S., & Miles, J. (2007). Family law. Texts, cases and ma terials (p. 767). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[22] Lowe, N. (2009). A study into the rights and legal status of children being brought up in various forms of marital or non-marital partner ships and cohabitation, Europe Council, Strasbourg, 21 September 2009.
[23] Koch, R. (2009). The 80/20 principle (2nd ed., pp. 223-224). Barcelona: Paidós.
[24] Manning, W. D., Smock, P. J., & Majumdar, D. (2004). The relative stability of cohabiting and marital unions for children. Population Research and Policy Review, 23, 135-159. doi:10.1023/B:POPU.0000019916.29156.a7
[25] McGlynn, C. (2006). Families and the European Union. Law, politics & pluralism (pp. 25-30,158-160). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511495014
[26] Melli, M. S., & Brown, P. R. (2008). Exploring a new family form. The shared time family. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 22, 231-269. doi:10.1093/lawfam/ebn002
[27] Navas Navarro, S. (2010). Los derechos del menor en las familias re constituidas. In S. Nasarre Aznar, R. Barrada Orellana, & M. Garrido Melero (Eds.), El Nuevo derecho de la persona y de la familia en el Libro 2o del Código civil de Cataluna (pp. 618-627). Barcelona: Bosch.
[28] Navas Navarro, S. (2006). Matrimonio homosexual y adopción. Madrid: Reus.
[29] Nelson, M. K. (2006). Single mothers “do” family. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 68, 781-795. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00292.x
[30] Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (2012). The future of families to 2030. OECD Publishing: Author.
[31] Sanz Caballero, S. (2006). La familia en perspectiva internacional y Europea (pp. 10-40). Valencia: Tirant Lo Blanch.
[32] Sarkisian, N. (2006). Doing family ambivalence: Nuclear and extended families in single mother’s lives. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 68, 804-811. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00295.x
[33] Schwebel, A. I., & Fine, M. A. (1991). A study of perceptions of step parent role. Journal of Family Issues, 12, 43-57. doi:10.1177/019251391012001004
[34] Schwenzer, I. (2006). Model family code. From a global perspective. intersentia. EFL, Antwerpen & Oxford: Stampfli.
[35] Schwenzer, I. (2002). Art. 299, Basler Kommentar. In Honsell, Vogt, & Geiser (Eds.), Zivilgesetzbuch I, Art. 1-456 ZGB (pp. 1583-1584). Basel, Genf & München: Helbing & Lichtenhahn.
[36] Smith, L. (2008). Recent developments in child law. In K. Boele Woelki, & T. Sverdrup (Eds.), European challenges in contemporary family law (pp. 58-59). Antwerp, Oxford & Portland: Intersentia.
[37] Sosson, J. (1993). The legal status of step-families in continental European countries. In J. Eekelaar, & P. Sarcevic (Eds.), Parenthood in modern society. Legal and social issues for the first century (p. 397). Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
[38] Stalford, H., & Drywood, E. (2011). Using the CRC to inform EU law and policy-making. In A. Invernizi, & J. Williams (Eds.), The human rights of children. From visions to implementation (pp. 211-234). London: Ashgate.
[39] Wardle, L. D. (1993). The evolving rights and duties of step-parents: Making new rules for new families. In J. Eekelaar, & P. Sarcevic (Eds.), Parenthood in modern society. Legal and social issues for the first century (pp. 370-380). Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.