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Key Areas of Jurisdiction at a Family Law Court

In the UK there are a number of different court systems that tackle different areas of legislation - namely the Country Court, the Family Court, the Magistrates Court, the Crown Court, the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the UK Supreme Court. For the purposes of this article we shall initially concentrate on the areas that are specifically tackled by the Family Court.

Family law courts handle a wide range of legal matters related to family and domestic relationships. These courts exist to address disputes, provide resolutions, and establish legal parameters in cases involving family issues.

Family law courts

Divorce and separation

One of the most common matters dealt with in family law courts is divorce and separation. These cases involve the legal dissolution of a marriage or domestic partnership. It resolves disputes around issues like property division, maintenance, and child custody. Family courts assist in settling these issues and ensuring that the process is conducted fairly and equitably.

While divorce is often the end game, in the lead up to divorce there are a number of issues that require intervention, particularly in cases involving domestic abuse and childcare arrangements. In these circumstances, it is essential that due process is followed to ensure that any divorce proceedings reflect special conditions.

Non molestation orders

If you have been in a relationship with someone, or are related to someone in a particular way (by blood or marriage) and they are guilty of persistent harassment, intimidation, controlling behaviour, or threatening or violent behaviour, you can take out what is known as a non molestation order.

Non molestation orders will prevent someone from contacting you and interacting with you in any way which is considered persistently threatening or abusive.

Childcare arrangements

The swift, equitable and fair resolution of child care is essential to the wellbeing of both the children themselves, and both parents. Courts establish arrangements for where children will live and how visitation rights will be granted to non-custodial parents.

Childcare arrangements

If one party is concerned about the welfare of a child, they can apply for prohibited steps orders, or specific issue orders. A Prohibited Steps Order prevents an ex partner from taking your child away, or making life decisions without your specific consent. A specific Issue Order allows the courts to step in and help you resolve a specific dispute.

The more disputes there are around the care and support of children, the more the family court will step in. This includes the financial support that a non-custodial parent must provide to the custodial parent to ensure the child's needs are met. Once established, the parent must fulfil their legal obligation to avoid being held in contempt.

Domestic violence, economic abuse and coercive control

In cases involving partners who demonstrate frequent and persistent violent and abusive behaviour, family courts are integral to the overall decision making process. Their decisions help protect individuals, often granting legal safeguards against abusive family members. As part of this, child protection units often work closely with the family courts if there are any concerns around a child’s safety or wellbeing, including neglect or dependency.


Family law courts also facilitate mediation and alternative dispute resolution processes to help families resolve their issues outside of a full trial. These methods aim to reduce the emotional and financial burden associated with lengthy court proceedings.

To conclude, family law courts play a vital role in addressing a wide spectrum of issues related to family and domestic relationships. From divorce and child custody to domestic violence and adoption, these courts aim to provide resolutions and legal clarity in family matters, always prioritizing the best interests of the individuals involved, especially the well-being of children.