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Marriage in family law

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The Law fails to reflect and recognise the contemporary family Discuss Introduction This essay shall seek to examine whether the current law fails to reflect the twenty first century modern, contemporary family. It will draw upon recent developments in the law that have go so far to bridge the gap between what was once seen as the family and what is now seen as the family. I shall examine recent legislation such as the Civil Partnership Act 20041 which for the first time in English history allowed homosexual couples to become legally entitled to manly of the legal rights offered to married couples, and assess whether the CPA 2004 has enabled the contemporary view to come in line with the law. Social trends have changed over time and we now see an increase in the amount of people cohabitating. This social trend is set to continue and the rights of cohabitants will be a focal point in this essay, lastly I shall look at the adoption laws that regulate adoption and assess whether the law surrounding adoption is also in line with the contemporary view of the family. Historically, the family was deemed to be confined to husband, wife and children2 and therefore the focus of this type of family unit could be limited by way of marriage because marriage gives both husband and wife rights and obligations. ...read more.


The explanation for this stems from the historical obsession with marriage as the determining factor when describing what the family is. An example of the discrepancies is when it comes to parental responsibility. The law's desire to insist on marriage when determining family rights renders fathers in a relationship where cohabitation is the family type limitless, since under current law fathers who are not married do not get automatic rights. Therefore the law is failing to understand the complexities of the modern family. In Burns V Burns10, the laws failure to equate family with that of both married and non-married partners was commented by Fox, LJ. Giving his opinion Fox, LJ stated that the amount of people that were choosing to live as cohabitants was so large it could not be considered as a 'temporary blip' and that any definition of the law in the future should include that of cohabitants. Fox, LJ opinion gives way for an analysis on the current law as it stands in regards to the definition of a family. We can see that as the law currently stands it fails to reflect in some regards the modern day family. ...read more.


Therefore, if this is the new type of parental model the UK is witnessing the law should reflect it. This is an example of where the law fails to act. Grandparents have limited rights when it comes to claims over their grandchildren and yet play an influential part in their grandchild's upbringing. It is this occurrence that led to the leader of the Conservative Party, now the Prime Minister, David Cameron to claim that under the Conservative manifesto grandparents would be given additional rights to reflect the position they play in a modern twenty first century. 1 2004. c33 2 Lord Evershed's forward to R.H Graveson and FR. Crane, A century of Family Law, (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1957) pvii 3 56% of people living in the United Kingdom still see marriage as the best type of relationship according to the Office for National Statistics, can be accessed through: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_social/Social_Trends39/Social_Trends_39.pdf. Last accessed 09-01-2011 4 Diduck, A and Kaganas, F (2009). Family Law, Gender and the State. 2nd ed. London: Hart publishings. p11 5 (2000) 2 KB 328 6 ibid 7 (1979) 1 WLR 928 8 National statistics (2008) 9 http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1865 10 (1984) 1 All ER 244 11 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article783752.ece 12 2008, c22 13 http://www.opo.org.uk/ICOR/ResearchDetails. 14 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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