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Need some practical info on Family Law UK? Good, then you have come to the right place. This article is your all-in-one primer to get you up to speed in your knowledge of Family Law in the UK. Naturally, you should not expect to become a lawyer by reading a simple article, but this write-up should at least give you a basic grasp of what Family Law UK covers in the United Kingdom, which cases may considered as forming part of this particular field of law, and what a family lawyer can do for you.
English Family Law UK
In England and Wales, this term covers all laws that pertain to family relationships including marriage, divorce, property regimes, and financial settlements after marriage, domestic violence, custody of children, children’s rights, adoption, and the duties and responsibilities of parents.
Which Courts Are Considered As Family Law UK Courts?
Traditionally, there were several courts which were empowered to hear and decide cases that involve family legal matters. Currently, while there are several branches all around England and Wales, the Family Law UK Courts have been constituted as one single entity simply known as “The Family Court.”
The Family Law UK Court Judges
There are different kinds of judges who may be assigned to hear cases in the Family Court. These judges may differ in rank and qualifications and are assigned cases according to their particular capacity. Complicated cases are therefore assigned to higher ranked judges while issues that may be easily settled may be assigned to judges with lower qualifications. It is worth noting that juries are not employed in the family courts. It is the judges who render the final decisions on a particular legal matter brought before them after due hearing.
What Are Family Legal Matters In Layman’s Terms?
To make things simple, with Family Law issues involve the types of legal disputes that involve either children or the breakdown of family relationships. In general, whenever the custody of children is involved, then the case will be remanded to the family court for a decision. The protection of the child’s welfare is of paramount interest to the family courts.
However, the case may not always involve children such as in cases of divorce between two individuals wherein no other parties are concerned/affected. Legal disputes that arise over the support of children after a divorce may also be decided by the family courts.
Balance Of Probabilities
The measure of proof required to prove any particular allegation in the Family Courts is quite unique. The measure is known as the “balance of probabilities.” To put it simply, this test requires that to be treated as having happened, any fact in dispute has to be proved to be more likely than not. In other words, alleged facts are to be accepted and/or rejected by the court based on their how likely they are to happen. This is much more lenient than prosecution in criminal cases wherein proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt is the requisite. This can either work for and/or against the accused. In the case of a crime for example, while someone may be acquitted for the crime of murdering his/her spouse because of lack of proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt, a civil obligation may still arise in the family courts for the benefit of the children of the spouses – if any.
Press Coverage Is More Limited
The Family Law UK Court place will always try to look out for the best interest of any children involved, which is why although Family Law cases may be open for the press to attend, cases involving children are heard in private and press coverage is limited as to how much information they can make available to the public.