Family Law and Succession Law

About the Subject

Family Law is focused on the economic relationship between spouses and between cohabitants - both during the relationship and at its termination. The main currents pertaining to the legal relationship between children and parents are also included under this subject. Succession Law deals with the two legal grounds for inheritance – statute and will.

Hardly any other field of law has experienced such profound and deep social and demographic changes as family and succession law during the past thirty years: a dramatic increase in divorce rates and extra-marital cohabitation with the resultant increase in children born out of wedlock; women joining the paid work force en masse and the consequent impact on parental roles and property relations among partners, and – more recently – the growing social acceptance of same-sex relationships and new technology in artificial insemination. Immigration and increased internationalization are other key factors in this development. As a result of women’s’ increased participation in the wage-earning workforce, we are currently experiencing an entirely new constellation in family law, where the two parties in a couple relationship dispose of their income jointly.As a result, the general law of property and obligation has become a central part of family law, and raises a series of new issues relating to co-ownership, debt liability, formation of contracts and other issues. The broad variation of family patterns requires new thinking concerning the role of contractual freedom within family law and law of succession. An increasing number of people experience the need to deviate from the non-mandatory rules. On the other hand, the regulations in marriage law, cohabitation law and law of succession have become so complex that it is difficult to create suitable nuptial agreements or wills.


The teaching language of the courses is Norwegian.  
Topics for the Masters Thesis


In light of these developments, research projects on both the Masters and the PhD level have been carried out during recent years. The plan is to launch a major research project called Financial consequences upon termination of marriage and cohabitation: new relationships, new conception - new law? Two PhD dissertations have been submitted for academic review in 2008.

Seminars and Conferences

Seminars - Fagseminar i familierett - with the participation of attorneys and other practitioners are regularly held at the Department. Internal co-operation within the faculty includes participation in the research group RIKS (Rights, Individuals, Culture and Society). Nordic co-operation is ensured through the Nordic Family Law symposia held every other year, most recently in Ålesund in 2007. The internationalization of family law includes the European harmonization project CEFL (Commission on European Family Law), which has resulted in a number of publications. In co-operation with CEFL the Department organised an international conference in the spring of 2007 in Oslo with more than 100 participants in attendance. There is also worldwide international cooperation through ISFL (International Society of Family Law). In 2002 the Department was co-organizer of the 11th World Congress in Oslo/Copenhagen. Both of the latter conferences have resulted in the publication of books. 
Contact Person

Professor Tone Sverdrup
Other Persons Associated with the Subject Field
Professor John Asland
Associate Professor Peter Hambro
Post Doctor Tone Linn Wærstad
PhD-student Katrine Fredwall


Published Nov. 19, 2009 5:15 PM - Last modified July 14, 2017 12:29 PM