Want to know how family law works in the UK? Well, sit back, relax and read on because you have a whole lot on your plate to mentally digest. The fact of the matter is that the coverage of how family law works in the UK is simply far too vast and too complex to be fully explained in one article. This is why it is taken up as an entire course by students of law after all. However, as long as you are not studying how to be a solicitor or a barrister specializing in family law in the UK, there are several valuable tidbits of information that you should be able to pick up from reading this article. You can think of this write-up as a primer on how family law works in the UK.
Of course, if you are facing some legal trouble or have some actual issues at hand that involves family law.
What is the basis of UK Family Law?
UK Family law is considered to be a complex subject for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons would be that there is no codified system of law as to most of the topics covered by family law legal practice in the UK. This is how family law works as far as England and Wales is concerned: common law is the prevailing legal basis of family law and it is founded by the acts of parliament which are then applied and interpreted by the higher courts. The decisions and findings of the courts will then form a part of legal precedence and these precedents are to be taken and applied as law in themselves. So this means that the past decisions of the courts on similar cases to your situation will affect the eventual decision of the court in your case.
As far as divorce and financial proceedings are concerned, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 is the legal basis. The welfare of children and their upbringing is governed by the Children Act 1989. Furthermore, there are several important statues that govern family relations in the UK such as:
Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 (MFPA 1984), Part III (financial relief in England and Wales after an overseas divorce).
Family Law Act 1986 (FLA 1986) (jurisdiction and recognition of orders).
Child Support Act 1991 (CSA 1991) (statutory child maintenance).
Family Law Act 1996 (FLA 1996) (Part IV, in relation to family homes and domestic violence).
Human Rights Act 1998 (incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into English law).
Adoption and Children Act 2002 (ACA 2002).
Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004) (allows same sex couples to form registered civil partnerships).
Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (M(SSC)A 2013) (allows same sex couples to form marriages).
Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014
How family law works – Do I need to go to court in order to resolve a divorce issue?
Not at all, if both parties agree to it, then family mediation may be available for you. In this form of alternative dispute resolution, you and your partner will attempt to come to a compromise regarding finances, property relations and the welfare of the children with the help of a neutral third party.