The Foundation of Family Law

One definition of a family springs from the functions upon which the family is founded upon. This approach, otherwise known as the functionalist approach, includes in the definition of a family as any group of people performing roles and functions, which are closely associated with their responsibilities of being members of a group. For instance, we usually refer to a group of people such as a certain class as a family by association. A further definition of family would give us the genealogical stock from which an individual came from. For instance, John belongs to Adam’s family. Here, the family is the group from which Adam actually came from.As time evolved, we become more open to different family forms, thus the subjective approach to the definition of a family came into the picture. Under this approach, the definition of a family depends on the fact that the people involved regard themselves as such. Of three approaches to the definition of a family, this is type promotes the most liberal definition.Section 1 Family Law Act 1996 so provides that the institution of marriage is to be supported. Marriage is well defined in the case of Hyde v Hyde and Woodhouse (1866)2 when the Court ruled that it is a voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of others. There are two very important elements of marriage described in this case. (a) that the union should be that of a man and a woman (b) that such union is exclusive. Marriage is also founded upon a bond, which is more than a mere contracting of mutual support and obligation. It is a kind of institution that confers a status.3 In other words, marriage enhances an individual by conferring a status or a title.