Family Law

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This module aims to provide students with a broad and critical understanding of the substantive area of family law. Students will begin their studies by examining the legal status of common law marriage, civil partnerships and marriage. The module will explore the historical development of the laws of marriage enabling students to demonstrate a sound understanding of why the law governing relationships takes the form it does today.

The module will then provide students with the knowledge necessary to critically analyse the legal provisions on the breakdown of relationships and specifically the law governing the ending of a marriage, judicial separation and the dissolution on a civil partnership. The module will then require students to explore the financial implications of a relationship breakdown and students will gain knowledge of Ancillary relief, financial and property orders and the basis on which they are made, and the financial provision for children. Students will also gain an appreciation of the law concerning both pre-nuptial and separation agreements.

Attention will then be drawn to the law relating to children of the family under the Children Act 1989. Students will need to demonstrate an understanding of the concept of parental responsibility and the impact that the breakdown of a relationship will have on a child. Finally, the module will explore the law in relation to domestic violence and students will gain an understanding of how a person experiencing such violence may be protected by both the Police and the Courts.


  1. Explain the underlying legal principles of marriage, cohabitation and civil partnerships
  2. Describe the legal principles of nullity in marriage 
  3. Understand and apply the legal principles of dissolution of marriage, civil partnerships and judicial separation
  4. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the statutory provisions regarding domestic violence 
  5. Explain the provisions on financial relief and the ownership of property on the breakdown of a relationship 
  6. Evaluate the legal provisions in relation to children