A family is a group of people that are connected by either genetics or legal systems. This might include biological parents, children, siblings, or any extended blood relatives. Those not connected by consanguinity might become family through legal methods such as marriage, adoption, or fostering.
Under the aptly titled Family Law, status as a family grants individuals in that unit special rights and duties. For example, parents of minor children have affirmative duties to protect and care for those children. Family members are also often granted certain rights under the law of Estates and Trusts, especially if a deceased member dies without a will.
Individuals not connected by blood or the law might also consider and call themselves a family. However, this designation would not carry legal force or the same legal rights granted to other families.
[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]