What is Family Law?
Legislation on family matters
Family law, as the name suggests, covers all of the legal implications of starting or having a family, from marrying a partner to taking care of your children.
Below are a few common legal situations that occur in the arena of family law.
Marriage and civil partnerships
As anyone who has been married before will realise, getting married is not as straightforward as it might appear from the outside. Making sure that your wedding meets the legal requirements is crucial to ensuring the legitimacy of your marriage – this includes registering the marriage and ensuring that the act of marrying the couple takes place in a licensed venue.
Family law has been changed and extended in recent years to allow a same-sex couple to engage in a civil partnership, a legally recognised union that gives them the same rights that a married couple would enjoy, such as entitlement under the rules of intestacy.
Sadly, where there is marriage, there will always be some who choose to divorce. However, while no one ever enters a marriage with the expectation or hope that it will fail, a divorce can, in the right circumstances, be looked upon as a new beginning, and a fresh start for both partners.
Divorce is one of the most common processes that enters a family law court – if a divorce is poorly or insensitively handled, a divorce can descend into acrimony and become messy very quickly, potentially costing both sides thousands in legal fees.
However, there are other solutions – many family law solicitors offer guidance as mediators, allowing partners to settle their differences peacefully and amicably. This is ideal if the partners have any children together.
There are a myriad of different family law issues that can crop up once a child is brought into an equation, many of which can come into play long before you have your child.
For example, many parents who are expecting are entitled to maternity and paternity leave, allowing them to take paid leave from work in the weeks leading up to and immediately following their child’s birth.
Once a child is born, there is also the matter of registering the birth. As they grow up, a parent will need to pay attention to the law regarding other aspects of child raising, such as education law, and the law on smacking.
For prospective parents who can’t or do not wish to conceive naturally, there are other options, each with their own legal implications. For instance, adoption law is very complex, governing a process that can be very long and laborious.
If you wish to conceive a child but are hampered by fertility issues, there are other options, such as surrogacy and IVF treatment – again, it is crucial that you fully understand the law before deciding which of these methods would be best for you.
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