The Family Court Cases Matter...
Posted on 13th September 2022
If you are going to find yourself in a Family Court case or you are already there, it seems appropriate to find out what you are walking into.
The Family Court is just one judicial environment within a system which includes criminal courts, high courts, and civil courts.
Fact: The Judge in family court cases do not wear a wig and gown. That is reserved for criminal proceedings and high court cases.
So what cases are going to find their way to the Family Court?
Parental disputes over children
Local authority intervention to protect a child or children
Orders relation to divorce or the dissolution of a Civil Partnership
Aspects of domestic abuse
Forced marriage protection
Female genital mutilation protection
Family law cases are dealt with in the Family Court or in the Family Division of the High Court. Judiciary in the Family Court includes Magistrates, Deputy District Judge, District Judge, Circuit Judge, and High Court Judge. The Family Court is based in 44 locations across the country.
Fact: The decision as to which Family Court case your child is in is decided by where the children live at the time the application to Court is made.
There are two types of cases heard in Family Court – public law and private law.
Public law cases are brought by local authorities and usually revolve around ensuring the safety of a child by placing them under supervision or gaining an emergency protection order to move them to a place of safety.
Private law cases by brought by private individuals generally connected to a divorce or the breakup of a relationship.
Private law cases revolve around:
Special guardianship orders
Orders under Section 8 of The Child Act 1989, which can be used to settle where a child lives, parental contact and other specific disputes. A prohibited steps order may also made – for example, preventing a parent from moving a child to another country.
Fact: Judges in British courts do not use gavels, nor have they ever.
The Family Court can end a marriage in one of two ways – by a final order (which used to be known as a Decree Absolute) or by a decree of nullity, which finds that the marriage was not valid in the first place.
Reasons for declaring a marriage invalid include:
Either party being under the age of 16
Either party are already married
The parties are prohibited from marrying, for example, father and daughter
Voidable marriages are those which are not consummated, where one party was suffering from an infectious venereal disease, or where the woman was pregnant by someone else at the time of the marriage.
The Family Court can also grant a judicial separation, which does not dissolve the marriage but recognises that the parties no longer live together.
Fact: Taking a barrister into a Family Court case is like cutting a birthday cake with a spade.
Where domestic abuse has occurred the Family Court may make two types of order.
A non-molestation order which can either prohibit particular behaviour or general molestation.
An occupation order which can define or regulate rights of access and occupation to the home.
Anyone breaching a non-molestation order can be arrested.
If you are heading to Family Court, let us show you the way and contact us today for more infromation on how we can help.
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