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Family Law

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Law Unit 4 - Family Law Family is the area of law which deals with family issues and domestic-related matters including marriage, cohabitation, divorce, annulment, property settlements, alimony and parental responsibility orders. Marriage is defined as 'the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.' This definition is from Lord Penzance's; the problem with this definition is a marriage is a contract between two individual which ascribes peculiar rights and duties, concerned. It follows therefore that the parties are subject to the contract laws governing marriages; the intentions of the parties will be paramount. The presumption of marriage is, if a man and woman live together, believe themselves to be married and present themselves as married, there is a rebutted presumption that they are legally married. The formalities required for a valid marriage are set out in the marriage act 1949, while those required for civil partnership are set out in the civil partnership act 2004, as amended by the civil partnership (amendments to registration provision) order 2005. The parties need to be of a certain age to enter the contract; anyone under 16 can't marry, if they are between age of 16 to 18 they can do so only with consent of their parents or guardian or whoever has parental responsibility. If these refuse then consent can be obtained only from the high court. Two formalities exist side by side, the Anglican procedure administered by the church and civil procedures administered by the registrar. These are used not only for civil proceedings but for all non-Anglican religious weddings. The law surrounding the nullity of any marriage is laid down in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973[1] (hereafter MCA). A void marriage is a marriage which is clearly void from the very beginning of the said marriage. The reasons for void marriages are clearly defined in section 11 of the MCA which states that the marriage is void if the parties are within prohibited degrees of a relationship, i.e. ...read more.


Now I am going to look at cohabitation and problem area as inheritance and property. There is no legal definition of cohabitation; it generally means to live together as a couple without being married. Although the term common-law wife or husband is frequently used to describe cohabitees these relationships do not have legal recognition. If you are cohabiting and you and your partner have separate bank accounts. Neither if you can have access to money held in the other partner's account. If one partner dies, any balance in the account will be property of the estate and cannot be used until the estate is settled. If they have joint account if one partner dies the whole account immediately becomes the property of other. As an unmarried mother you have sole responsibility for a child unless you register the birth of your child together with child, make a formal agreement with the father of the child. In the case of separation, you and your partner may make an informal arrangement for contact with the child. If this is not possible, a court can be asked to intervene. The court order will usually allow contact between the child and the parent whom the child is not living. A male partner is not presumed to be the father of a child. His name can only appear on the birth certificate in certain well-defined circumstances. Both parents are responsible for supporting a child financially. The father is equally responsible even if he is neither living with the mother nor named on child's birth certificate. He can be contacted by the CSA for maintenance. A mother can appoint a guardian to act on her death and a father can appoint a guardian to act on his death if he had parental responsibility. If there is no will, the child of unmarried parents has a legal right to inherit from both parents and the families of both parents. ...read more.


as it thinks appropriate. On the application of the local authority or the child the court can make, vary or discharge any contact order; on the application of a person entitled under s.34(1) or (with leave) of any other person it can make, vary or discharge an order regulating the child's contact with that person. (Thus, for example, one parent cannot apply for a termination of the child's contact with the other.) The conditions under which the court can make a supervision order are the same as those for the making of a care order, though it is worth noting that a supervision order is among the orders that can be made by the youth court in criminal proceedings. A supervision order lasts for one year, but may be extended to three, and places the child under the supervision of a social worker who is under a duty to advise, assist and befriend him or her. It does not in itself confer on the supervisor any right to enter the child's home or to remove him if he appears to be further abused. Unlike a care order, which vests (shared) parental responsibility in the local authority, a supervision order leaves parental responsibility entirely with the parents and gives the local authority has no powers to limit their exercise of it. The choice between the two orders is not therefore a matter of chance: it is important for the court to ensure that the order made is the right order in the circumstances. A supervision order comes to an end after a year unless it is renewed; a care order terminates when the child reaches the age of 18. Either kind of order may be discharged by the court before that date, however, or either is discharged automatically by any subsequent residence order. The child, a person with parental responsibility, the supervisor, or a person with whom the child is living and on whom a condition has been imposed, may apply to the court for the variation or discharge of a supervision order. (A care order cannot be varied.) ...read more.

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