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Consider by way of example the following statement:

“One of the most fundamental debates in family law is about how far the state should intervene in family life, rather than leaving people to make their own arrangements. The extent to which the law can exert a moral force in contemporary family life is closely tied to its willingness to intervene in family decision-making. The more emphasis is placed upon the privacy of the family unit, the more difficult it is for the state to enforce its normative standards and interests. The problem is particularly acute in the context of family breakdown. If the state is neutral, families can be left to settle their own problems. By contrast, if the state is committed to promoting, for example, a particular model for the division of family assets on divorce in order to protect particular family members, it may be expected to try and enforce its view of the ‘right’ or preferable outcome through the law. However, state intervention in family life has always been controversial…

… [t]he public interest in regulating the family is such that state intervention into the private realm will sometimes be justified. This will most often be the case when a family is in crisis, for example where children are being abused within the family home. The state may also have an interest in enforcing financial obligations between family members. The difficulty lies in deciding when the privacy of the family should be protected and when the public interest, whether social, economic or moral in nature, is sufficiently strong to merit intervention.” –

Harris-Short, Miles and George, Family Law Text case and Materials, 3rd edition, Oxford, p22-23.

Essay Question:

Critically analyse how the state regulates the family and how and why it seeks to intervenein family life.

**Remember It must be UK LAW SYSTEM.

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