The functions of family law has four distinct but related functions.The fundamental goal of family law is to support social institutions, like marriage and parenthood.There are 4 core functions of Family law.
Definition And Alteration of Status.
Historically this was the law’s main role because it was primarily concerned with the rights which one member of the family could claim over another or over the latter’s property. In the case of a man and woman living together, these arose only if they were married, and their legal relationship still depends very largely on their status. Similarly, there were virtually no rights and duties with respect to children unless they were legitimate (which in turn depended on whether their parents were married).
A child’s status is now of less importance but a fundamental prima facie has parental responsibility for a child—still depends on whether his parents were married to each other when he was born. Questions of status are also of importance in public law, for on them may turn such matters as a person’s nationality and right to live in the United Kingdom and claims to contributory social security benefits. Akin to the courts’ power to define status is their power to alter it. Among the most important aspects of this is their jurisdiction to grant divorces and make adoption orders, because a marriage can be dissolved and a child can be legally adopted only by judicial process.
Akin to the courts’ power to define status is their power to alter it. Among the most important aspects of this is their jurisdiction to grant divorces and make adoption orders, because a marriage can be dissolved and a child can be legally adopted only by judicial process.
Resolution of disputes.
The courts’ power to resolve disputes between members of the family is usually called into play when the family unit breaks down. Among the commonest subjects of disputes are the residence and upbringing of children and contact with them and the right to occupy the matrimonial home.
The protection of the weaker members of the family has two aspects: physical and economic. The former usually raises the more urgent problems and the courts can give protection to the victims of domestic violence (whether wives, husbands, cohabitants, or children) by making non-molestation orders and orders excluding a party from the matrimonial home. As a last resort they may order a child to be taken into the care ofa local authority. The economic protection of a member of the family usually assumes importance when the family unit ceases to exist, either through separation or death, and the courts have extensive powers to make orders for financial provision on both these events.
Property adjustment and division.
Even though the termination of the family unit may leave the members adequately provided for. justice may nonetheless require the redistribution of their capital assets, and the courts have power to make orders for this purpose on the breakdown of a marriage and. to a more limited extent, on the death of a member of the family. Similarly, if a person dies intestate, his property will have to be distributed, and the law of intestate succession is essentially a part of family law because it provides for the division of a deceased person’s property among-st members of his family. During the past century English family law has shown a steady movement away from the first of these functions to the other three, and today its remedial role is of much greater importance than that of conferring rights. The result has been to give individual judges much greater discretion, for while Parliament and appellate courts can lay down general principles for, Say, the resolution of disputes relating to children or the award of financial relief. their application will vary enormously according to the circumstances of each family.