This article sets out to research and resolve the conceptual lag between the family as defined and recognised in law and the multiplicity of queer constellations of ‘intimate citizenship’ in which families are actually done. The focus is on adult unions outside of conjugal coupledom. The family law practices, and awareness and expectations of adults in such unions were analysed through 21 interviews and the content analysis of 40 documents and were projected against the applicable legal mould. The article then proposes to resolve the existing conceptual lag by advancing a conception of the family as a malleable, open-ended assemblage, in lieu of the current rigid status approach in family law, which is both under- and overinclusive. The proposed conception does justice to the increasing fluidity of family formations, which are not always already domestic, dyadic and sexual.