Family law is a broad field that covers a wide range of legal issues related to marriage, children, and domestic relationships. To help you we have produced a list of many of the key phrases. and documents and processes you may come across.
- Child custody: refers to the legal responsibility and authority to make decisions regarding a child's care and welfare.
- Legal guardianship: the legal relationship between a guardian and the ward (a person who is under the guardian's care, usually a minor child).
- Visitation rights: the rights of a parent or other family member to visit a child, often specified in a court order or agreement.
- Child support: financial support provided by one parent to the other for the care and upbringing of their shared child.
- Spousal support: financial support provided by one spouse to the other during or after a separation or divorce.
- Prenuptial agreement: a legal contract entered into before marriage that outlines how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce.
- Postnuptial agreement: a legal contract entered into after marriage that outlines how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce.
- Adoption: the legal process by which a person becomes the parent of another person, usually a child.
- Conservatorship: the legal responsibility and authority to make decisions regarding the care and welfare of an incapacitated adult.
- Collaborative law: a method of resolving legal disputes in which both parties agree to work together in a cooperative manner to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution, rather than through adversarial litigation.
- Mediation: a process in which a neutral third party facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to help them reach a mutually agreeable resolution.
- Restraining order: a court order that prohibits one person from contacting or coming near another person, often issued in cases of domestic violence or stalking.
- Property division: the process of dividing property and assets between two parties in a divorce or separation.
- Alimony/maintenance: financial support provided by one spouse to the other during or after a separation or divorce.
Family Law Forms:
- Form A: Application for a Divorce - This form is used to apply for a divorce from the court. It includes information on the parties involved, their marriage, and grounds for divorce.
- Form B: Acknowledgment of Service - This form is used by the respondent to indicate that they have received and understood the divorce papers.
- Form C1: Application for a Financial Order - This form is used to apply for a financial order, such as a property adjustment order or maintenance order, in relation to a divorce.
- Form C100: Application for a Child Arrangements Order - This form is used to apply for an order specifying arrangements for the care of a child.
- Form C1A: Statement of Information - This form is used to provide the court with additional information in relation to an application for a financial order.
- Form C2: Statement of Arrangements - This form is used to provide the court with information on the current living arrangements of a child.
- Form C3: Notice of Hearing - This form is used to inform the parties of the date, time, and location of a hearing.
- Form D11: Request for a Decree Nisi - This form is used to request that the court grant a Decree Nisi, which is the first stage of a divorce.
- Form D36: Notice of Discontinuance - This form is used to indicate that an action has been discontinued and will no longer be pursued.
- Form D50: Application for a Decree Absolute - This form is used to apply for a Decree Absolute, which is the final stage of a divorce and legally ends the marriage.
- Family Law Solicitor - A solicitor who specializes in family law and can advise and represent clients in legal matters related to divorce, child custody, financial settlements, and other family-related issues.
- Barrister - A legal professional who specializes in courtroom advocacy and can represent clients in court. They may be instructed by a solicitor or directly by a client.
- Mediator - A neutral third party who facilitates communication and negotiation between parties in order to resolve disputes and reach agreements. Mediators can be used in a variety of family law matters, such as child custody and property division.
- Collaborative Lawyer - A lawyer who specializes in the collaborative law process, which is a non-adversarial approach to resolving legal disputes. Collaborative lawyers work with clients and other professionals, such as financial advisors and counsellors, to reach agreements that are mutually beneficial.
- Family Mediator – A professional accredited by the Family Mediation Council to undertake the process of family mediation.
- Family Therapist - A therapist or counsellor who specializes in working with families to address emotional and psychological issues related to family law matters, such as separation and divorce.
- Financial Advisor - A professional who can provide advice on financial matters, such as property division and maintenance payments. They may work with a family law solicitor or independently.
- Judge - A legal professional who presides over court proceedings and makes decisions on legal matters. In family law cases, a judge may make decisions on issues such as child custody and property division.
- Child and Family Report Writer - A professional who is appointed by the court to prepare a report on the welfare of children involved in family law proceedings. They will interview the parties and any other relevant parties, and make recommendations to the court in relation to the child's best interests.
- Divorce Order - A legal document that officially ends a marriage. It can be obtained by one party making an application to the court on the grounds that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
- Child Arrangements Order - A court order that sets out the arrangements for the care of a child, including who the child will live with and when the child will spend time with the other parent.
- Prohibited Steps Order - A court order that prohibits a person from doing something, such as taking a child out of the country or removing them from the care of a specific person.
- Specific Issue Order - A court order that addresses a specific issue related to a child, such as which school a child should attend or whether a child should receive a certain medical treatment.
- Non-Molestation Order - A court order that prohibits a person from molesting or harassing another person, typically in the context of domestic violence.
- Occupation Order - A court order that regulates the occupation of a specific property, such as requiring one party to leave the property or preventing one party from entering the property.
- Financial Order - A court order that addresses financial matters in the context of a divorce or separation, such as the division of assets, maintenance payments, and pension sharing.
- Variation Order - A court order that modifies or varies an existing court order, such as a change in the arrangements for the care of a child.
- Enforcement Order - A court order that requires a person to comply with an existing court order, such as a child arrangements order or a financial order.
Important Support Organisations
- Relate (www.relate.org.uk) - A national organization that provides relationship counseling and support, including family mediation services.
- Women's Aid (www.womensaid.org.uk) - A national organization that supports women and children affected by domestic abuse, including providing information and support for those involved in court proceedings.
- CAFCASS (www.cafcass.gov.uk) - The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, which provides independent advice to the court in child-related legal proceedings.
- Mind (www.mind.org.uk) - A national mental health charity that provides support and advice for individuals and families affected by mental health issues.
- Citizens Advice Bureau (www.citizensadvice.org.uk) - A national organization that provides free, independent advice and support on a wide range of legal and financial issues, including family law.
- Family Lives (www.familylives.org.uk) - A national organization that provides information, support, and guidance for families, including those going through separation or divorce.
- Shelter (www.shelter.org.uk) - A national organization that provides advice and support for individuals and families facing homelessness or housing-related issues.
- The Law Society (www.lawsociety.org.uk) - The professional body for solicitors in England and Wales, providing guidance and support for solicitors and members of the public on family law issues.
- Resolution (www.resolution.org.uk) - A national organization of family lawyers committed to resolving family disputes in a non-confrontational way.
- The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) (www.cafcass.gov.uk) - The Children and Family Court
- National Centre for Domestic Violence (www.ncdv.org.uk) - A national organization that provides free legal advice and representation for those affected by domestic violence. Has several clinics located throughout Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.
- Age UK (www.ageuk.org.uk) - A national organization that provides free advice and support for older people on a wide range of issues, including legal issues. Has several advice centers located throughout Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.