At Woolley & Co we have been doing our work online since last century. Now there is astonishing news from the court system. Sir James Munby set out what he positioned as not just a vision, but something that can be achieved within four years with initial implementation from 2017: online divorce. Radical times indeed! Mind you given the way changes to the court fees for divorce were recently handled I’m not holding my breath for a smooth implementation.
The current State Pension changes from 6 April 2016 and there will no longer be a basic state pension with additional state pension (ASP) elements, but one single tier flat rate pension payable to a person with 35 years of national insurance contributions. Pensionable ages remain as before (subject to any further government changes), so those born from late 1954 to early 1960 get their pensions from 66, those born 1962-1970 from 67 and those born from late 1978 onwards have a state retirement age of 68.
With cohabiting couples being the fastest growing family type in the UK (according to the most recent ONS Families & Households report) as family lawyers we think it’s important that a couple who chooses to live together rather than marry understands the limits of their legal protection in that relationship. Couples should seriously consider drawing up a Cohabitation Agreement, to protect their interests, should the worse happen.
The radical changes to the rules regarding the use of pension funds to buy annuity policies – described by some as a “pensions revolution” - were at the forefront of the new Governments’ budget announcements in March 2014. Under these new rules, since April 2015 pensioners are no longer as restricted in how and when they draw down their pension money. They could choose to take some or all of their pension fund out as cash. Publicity at the time cited concerns of pensioners “buying Ferraris” and then falling dependent on the State – but in reality there appears to have been a fairly cautious uptake of this “cashing in”.
As thoughts turn to booking a summer holiday I am increasingly approached by potential clients asking me whether or not they are able to take their children away on holiday and whether they need the consent of the other parent.