family court
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

Family courts were originally created to be a Court of Equity convened to decide matters and make orders in relation to
family law Family law (also called matrimonial law or the law of domestic relations) is an area of the law that deals with family matters and domestic relations. Overview Subjects that commonly fall under a nation's body of family law include: * Marriage, ...
, including
custody of children Child custody is a Law, legal term regarding ''legal guardian, 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' ...
, and could disregard certain legal requirements as long as the petitioner/plaintiff came into court with “
clean hands Clean hands, sometimes called the clean hands doctrine, unclean hands doctrine, or dirty hands doctrine, is an Equity (law), equitable Defense (legal), defense in which the defendant argues that the plaintiff is not entitled to obtain an equitab ...
” and the request was reasonable, “
quantum meruit ''Quantum meruit'' is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) aro ...
”. Changes in laws and rules have made this distinction superfluous. Family courts hear all cases that relate to familial and domestic relationships. Each US state and each country has a different system utilized to address family law cases including decisions regarding divorce cases.


In the United States

Family courts were first established in the United States starting in the late 1910s at the behest of probation officers invested in the success of specialized domestic relations courts. Members of the National Probation Association (NPA) advanced the idea that "combining criminal nonsupport, juvenile delinquency, and divorce into a unified 'family court' would reduce jurisdictional overlap and ensure deep, rehabilitative treatment by probation officers across family-related conflicts." This idea was minimally successful and led to varied reformation of family courts throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The original criminal nature of family courts was slowly replaced by an impliedly civil approach, starting in the 1930s with a New York law designed to treat nonsupport cases as a civil matter. The shift to civil nonsupport across the country and the addition of divorce jurisdiction led to family court dockets becoming more civil in nature. Those found in contempt in civil nonsupport cases were still incarcerated as they were in the criminal nonsupport system. In 1933, New York established a standalone family court, "somewhat confusedly" called the Domestic Relations Court, to further remove family matters from criminal jurisdiction. However, in reality, this new family court and those that followed blended criminal and civil components, removing the constitutional protections offered by criminal procedure while still maintaining criminal-like enforcement mechanisms. In addition, New York passed the Uniform Support of Dependents Law (USDL) in order to provide a mechanism for interstate civil enforcement of family court rulings. Later, as probation officer involvement dwindled (partially attributable to the model Family Courts Act produced by the NPA in 1959) and more family courts retained jurisdiction over divorce, the machinery of family courts began to look even more civil. However, some aspects of family court enforcement still retain their criminal roots in heavy state involvement, including incarceration as a consequence of nonpayment of child support, wage garnishment, revocation of driver's licenses, and denial of passport applications. Some family courts still use older criminal nonsupport statutes, even though protections afforded by constitutional criminal procedures are oftentimes not present. Most cases are presided over by a single judge without a jury, except in the State of Texas, where parents have a right to trial by jury. These muddy distinctions between criminal and civil proceedings within family courts have led to calls for reformation, arguing that the seemingly civil nature of family courts is a method used to circumvent criminal procedural protections while still maintaining criminal enforcement machinery.


In England and Wales

Cases involving children are primarily dealt with under the
Children Act 1989 The Children Act 1989 is a United Kingdom Act of Parliament (UK), Act of Parliament which allocates duties to local authorities, courts, parents, and other agencies in the United Kingdom, to ensure children are safeguarded and their welfare is pr ...
, amongst other statutes. As of April 22, 2014, there are two family courts: *The Family Division of the High Court *The
Family Court Family courts were originally created to be a Court of Equity convened to decide matters and make orders in relation to family law, including child custody, custody of children, and could disregard certain legal requirements as long as the petiti ...
The Family Court was created by Part 2 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, merging the family law functions of the county courts and magistrates' courts into one. Two scenarios are covered by the Children Act of 1989: private law cases, where the applicant and respondent are usually the child's
parent A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessarily age). A ''biological parent'' is a person whose gamete resulted in a child, a male t ...
s; and public law cases, where the applicant is the local authority and the parents are usually the respondents. There is much debate at present over whether the manner in which the law is administered generally leads to outcomes that are beneficial to the families concerned. In this context, see
fathers' rights The fathers' rights movement is a social movement whose members are primarily interested in issues related to family law, including child custody and child support, that affect fathers and their children. Many of its members are fathers who desi ...
. Cases involving domestic violence are primarily dealt with under Part IV of the
Family Law Act 1996 The Family Law Act 1996c 27 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom governing divorce law and marriage. The law intends to modernise Divorce in England and Wales, divorce and to shift slightly towards "no fault" divorce from the fault-based ...
. In England, a family court may be called upon to order child maintenance payments, when the child is either under the age of 16, or under the age of 20 receiving a full-time education (but not higher than A-Level or equivalent). Abusive partners were sometimes allowed to cross examine their victims in ways that could be extremely stressful. Peter Kyle described this process as “abuse and brutalization” of women by the legal system: “Mothers need the protection of the law and they need to know in advance that the system is there to look out and protect their interests. It only takes one woman to be placed in a situation where she can be legally be asked by the man who has violently abused her; ‘When did you last have sex?’ That only has to happen once to realize that the system is corrupted and domestic abuse is going on in our system in the courtroom.” Changes to this process are forthcoming.


In Hong Kong

The Family Court of
Hong Kong Hong Kong ( (US) or (UK); , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (abbr. Hong Kong SAR or HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special ...
mainly deals with
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 ...
s and welfare maintenance for children.


See also

*
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 ...
*
Family law Family law (also called matrimonial law or the law of domestic relations) is an area of the law that deals with family matters and domestic relations. Overview Subjects that commonly fall under a nation's body of family law include: * Marriage, ...
*
Family Procedure Rules The Family Procedure Rules (previously Family Proceedings Rules), often abbreviated FPR, govern the procedures used in family courts in England and WalesThe Family Procedure Rules 2010were introduced by Statutory Instrument and are effective 6 Apri ...
*
Subject-matter jurisdiction Subject-matter jurisdiction (also called jurisdiction ''ratione materiae')'' is the authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter. For instance, bankruptcy court only has the authority ...
*
Family Court of Australia The Family Court of Australia was a superior Australian federal court of record which deals with Australian family law, family law matters, such as divorce applications, child custody, parenting disputes, and the division of property when a cou ...


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Family Court Courts by type Family law