Unless specified, this information relates only to England and Wales. If you live in Scotland, go to Parenting across Scotland for information and advice. If you live in Northern Ireland, go to NI direct.

Family law is an area of the law that deals with family-related matters. Legal issues that are covered by Family law include:

  • marriages and civil partnerships
  • divorce, annulment, property and other assets
  • alimony/spousal maintenance
  • family trust funds

If you have children, family law also covers:

  • child maintenance
  • care arrangements for children
  • paternity disputes
  • child abuse and child abduction
  • adoption and surrogacy

Family law is based on the Family Law Act 1996. The Family Law Act says how legal disputes on family matters should be handled.

The Family Law Act also sets out:

  • the rules on legal aid for family law matters
  • the rules relating to mediation to resolve family disputes.

Where can I go next?

  • Resolutions logo
    Resolution- Family law advice centre

    Advice and support from skilled professionals who are experienced at resolving the kind of disputes that arise when couples separate.

  • Black and White image of the crown
    Gov.uk- Family Law Act 1996

    Information on the Family Law Act 1996 from Legislation.Gov.uk.

  • Coram Children's Legal Centre

    Information on free legal advice available to you from Coram Children's Services

  • The family law panel logo is a set of 8 dots forming a circle
    The Family Law Panel

    Do you need a free conversation with a family law professional? The Family Law Panel is part of the OnlyMums & OnlyDads social enterprise, helping you and your family to make the right choices.