What is family law?
The legal definition of family law is the collection of laws and legislation that relate to issues that have a serious and significant impact on family relationships. While family law is often seen as synonymous with handling divorce proceedings, the reality is that it encompasses a wide range of subjects that affect all areas of personal and family life.
Why is family law important?
Family law lays out and protects the rights and responsibilities of family members across a wide spectrum of situations. It is designed to be a framework that provides a basis for achieving fair and equitable results for all family members involved, whether they are adults or children.
Family law can be an emotionally charged area of law, dealing as it often does with failing relationships and the resulting conflict. For this reason, family law solicitors require not only legal knowledge but also a good understanding of people and how to support them with appropriate sensitivity.
Types of family law
As already mentioned, family law is a diverse and wide-ranging area of practice, although it can be most briefly categorised into three areas: matrimonial, financial, and child-related. At Robinson’s Solicitors, our specialist solicitors work across all sectors to provide the full spectrum of family law from prenuptials to Child Arrangement Orders.
For many people, family law touches their lives only when they file for divorce. Family law relating to divorce covers all aspects of ending a marriage, including separation of assets, financial support, and Child Arrangement Orders
Prenuptials and Cohabitation Agreements
Prenuptials are no longer the preserve of the rich and famous. While seen as unromantic, a prenuptial should be considered a sensible and pragmatic course of action that allows both parties to calmly agree future expectations should the relationship break down.
UK law does not recognise the status of unmarried couples and so there is no protection should the relationship fail. For those considering setting up home together, but not intending to marry in the near future, a Cohabitation Agreement acts in a similar way to a prenuptial, ensuring that both parties are in agreement about what should happen to shared assets should they part ways.
Finances for the unmarried
As covered above, UK law doesn’t recognise what is often called ‘common law’ partners. When unmarried couples split, they have often acquired assets together. Without the legal framework afforded to married couples, good legal advice and representation are vital to achieving a fair and equitable resolution, especially if children are involved.
Child Arrangement Orders and access can be the most contentious part of any relationship breakdown, and is arguably the most important. Should parents be unable to reach an agreement between themselves, then clear guidance and experience of handling such issues are invaluable. In cases where families have become involved with the local authority, it is essential for family members to understand their rights and responsibilities with regard to the affected children.
Whatever form domestic abuse takes, ensuring the safety of those involved is paramount. Understanding the family law system and the options available, plus providing individually tailored assistance are vital tools in helping victims of abuse stay safe.
Should you need advice or support regarding any aspect of family life, contact James Heywood in our Family Law Department on 01227 762888 for more information or to obtain a quotation.