family court

      special court designed to deal with legal problems arising out of family relations. The family court is usually a consolidation of several types of courts dealing with narrower family problems, such as children's courts and orphans' courts.

      The family court operates according to looser procedures than do ordinary civil or criminal courts. Special intake procedures also distinguish the family court, which screens potential cases to eliminate those not really requiring judicial attention.

      Family courts were first established in the United States in 1910, when they were called domestic relations courts. The idea itself is much older. In the 19th century, the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes was established in England to relieve the ecclesiastical courts of the burden of such cases.

      Family courts are created by special statutes defining the types of cases that they are to handle, such as cases involving guardianship, child neglect, juvenile delinquency, paternity, support, or family offenses (i.e., disorderly conduct or minor assaults between spouses).

      Most family courts do not handle divorce, separation, or annulment cases, although the civil courts occasionally refer such cases to the family court to determine child custody or modification of alimony payments.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • family court — ➔ court1 * * * family court UK US noun [C or U] LAW ► a court of law that deals with cases involving family law, such as divorce and arrangements for looking after children after a divorce: »a family court case/hearing/judge »Lawyers get only… …   Financial and business terms

  • Family court — For other uses, see Family court (disambiguation). A family court is a court convened to decide matters and make orders in relation to family law, such as custody of children. In common law jurisdictions family courts are statutory creations… …   Wikipedia

  • family court — Such courts exist in several states. While the jurisdiction of such courts will differ somewhat from state to state, typically this court will have jurisdiction over: (1) child abuse and neglect proceedings, (2) support proceedings, (3)… …   Black's law dictionary

  • family court — court that deals with family related issues (divorce, child custody, etc.) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • family court — noun a court in some states in the United States that has jurisdiction over family disputes (especially those involving children) • Syn: ↑domestic relations court, ↑court of domestic relations • Hypernyms: ↑court, ↑tribunal, ↑judicature …   Useful english dictionary

  • family court — /fæmli ˈkɔt/ (say famlee kawt) noun a court which administers family law …   Australian English dictionary

  • family court — fam′ily court n. law court of domestic relations • Etymology: 1930–35 …   From formal English to slang

  • family court — noun Date: circa 1931 court of domestic relations …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • family court. — See court of domestic relations. [1930 35] * * * …   Universalium

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