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Family law (also called matrimonial law or the law of domestic relations) is an area of the
law Law is a set of rules that are created and are law enforcement, enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. ...
that deals with
family Family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinity (law), affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of the family is to maintain the well-being of its ...
matters and domestic relations.


Overview

Subjects that commonly fall under a nation's body of family law include: *
Marriage Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouses. It establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children, and between t ...
,
civil union A civil union (also known as a civil partnership) is a legally recognized arrangement similar to marriage, created primarily as a means to provide recognition in law for same-sex couples. Civil unions grant some or all of the rights of marriage ...
s, and
domestic partnership A domestic partnership is a legal relationship, usually between couples, who cohabitation, live together and share a common domestic life, but are not marriage, married (to each other or to anyone else). People in domestic partnerships receive b ...
s: ** Entry into legally recognized spousal and domestic relationships ** The termination of legally recognized family relationships and ancillary matters, including
divorce Divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) is the process of terminating a marriage or marital union. Divorce usually entails the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the ...
,
annulment Annulment is a legal procedure Procedural law, adjective law, in some jurisdictions referred to as remedial law, or rules of court, comprises the rules by which a court hears and determines what happens in civil procedure, civil, lawsuit, crimi ...
,
property settlement Division of property, also known as equitable distribution, is a judicial division of property rights and obligations between spouses during divorce. It may be done by agreement, through a property settlement, or by judicial decree. Distributio ...
s,
alimony Alimony, also called aliment (Scotland), maintenance (England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Canada, New Zealand), spousal support (U.S., Canada) and spouse maintenance (Australia), is a legal obligation on a person to provide financial suppo ...
,
child custody Child custody is a legal term regarding '' guardianship'' which is used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent or guardian and a child in that person's care. Child custody consists of ''legal custody'', which is the ri ...
and visitation,
child support Child support (or child maintenance) is an ongoing, periodic payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of a child (or parent, caregiver, guardian) following the end of a marriage or other similar relationship. Child maintenance is paid d ...
and
alimony Alimony, also called aliment (Scotland), maintenance (England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Canada, New Zealand), spousal support (U.S., Canada) and spouse maintenance (Australia), is a legal obligation on a person to provide financial suppo ...
awards ** Prenuptial and Postnuptial agreements *
Adoption Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting of another, usually a child, from that person's biological or legal parent or parents. Legal adoptions permanently transfer all rights and responsibilities, along with filiation, from ...
: proceedings to adopt a child and, in some cases, an adult. *
Surrogacy Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to Childbirth, delivery/labour for another person or people, who will become the child's parent(s) after birth. People may seek a surrogacy arrangement w ...
: the law and process of giving birth as a surrogate mother * Child protective proceedings: court proceedings that may result from state intervention in cases of
child abuse Child abuse (also called child endangerment or child maltreatment) is physical abuse, physical, child sexual abuse, sexual, and/or psychological abuse, psychological maltreatment or Child neglect, neglect of a child or children, especially by a ...
and
child neglect A form of child abuse, child neglect is an act of caregivers (e.g., parents) that results in Deprivation (child development), depriving a child of their basic needs, such as the failure to provide adequate supervision, health care, clothing, or h ...
* Juvenile law: Matters relating to minors including status offenses,
delinquency Delinquent or delinquents may refer to: * A person who commits a felony * A juvenile delinquent, often shortened as delinquent is a young person (under 18) who fails to do that which is required by law; see juvenile delinquency * A person who fai ...
,
emancipation Emancipation generally means to free a person from a previous restraint or legal disability. More broadly, it is also used for efforts to procure Economic, social and cultural rights, economic and social rights, civil and political rights, pol ...
and juvenile adjudication * Paternity: proceedings to establish and disestablish paternity, and the administration of paternity testing This list is not exhaustive and varies depending on
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin 'law' + 'declaration') is the legal term for the legal authority granted to a legal entity to enact justice. In federations like the United States, areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels. Jur ...
.


Conflict of laws

Issues may arise in family law where there is a question as to the laws of the jurisdiction that apply to the marriage relationship or to custody and divorce, and whether a divorce or child custody order is recognized under the laws of another jurisdiction. For child custody, many nations have joined the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in order to grant recognition to other member states' custody orders and avoid issues of parental kidnapping.


See also


Specific jurisdictions


References


Further reading

* *


External links


Testimony of Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Ph.D., Co-Director, National Marriage Project Rutgers University, before US Senate Subcommittee
* (an analysis of the long-term effect of divorce on children)
R. Partain, "Comparative Family Law, Korean Family Law, and the Missing Definitions of Family", (2012) HongIk University Journal of Law, Vol. 13, No. 2.

Hong Kong Family Court Tables
includes a summary of Hong Kong family law principles, a guide to the recent case law and relevant statutes, and a glossary of relevant terms related to the Hong Kong family law. {{Authority control Divorce Marriage