• What is a Lasting Power of Attorney and why should I make one?

    A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘Donor’) appoint and give legal authority to one or more people (known as ‘Attorneys’) to make decisions on your behalf. You can choose when you would like the LPA to take effect – this could be immediately, or only if you lack mental capacity. An LPA gives you more control over what happens to you if you lack mental capacity in the future and can no longer make your own decisions. Research shows that the number of people in the UK with dementia is set to …

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  • A Will is for everyone, not just the elderly

    This common misconception means that sometimes people who really should make a Will do not. If you die without a Will, this is called dying intestate. This means that the Intestacy Rules determine who inherits what, which means your loved ones could miss out and a large chunk of your estate could go to HMRC. In order to avoid this situation and to ensure that your estate passes to people of your choice, it is highly recommended that you have a valid Will.          If you live with a partner but are not married or in a civil partnership, and …

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  • Christmas Day Divorces

    January is a famously busy time for family lawyers, with many couples on the brink of separation finding the stress of Christmas to be the final straw for their relationship. The first week of the New Year has become a much talked about period for new divorce enquiries. This year, with the introduction of an online divorce petition in May 2018, it seems that this busy period for divorces started earlier, with government figures saying that thirteen people actually completed the online application on Christmas Day. According to the Ministry of Justice, there were a total of 455 online applications …

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  • What does normal look like?

    This is a question we are often asked by separating parents deciding how to agree the arrangements for their children. Parents often ask what other families do and what is considered usual or normal when deciding how many nights per week their children should spend with each of them, or how they should divide school holidays.   The advice that we often give is that there is no normal. Each family, and each child, is unique and therefore the arrangements that will be in their best interests will also be unique. What works for one child may not work for …

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  • Early Neutral Evaluations

    If you are trying to agree the arrangements for your children or your finances with your spouse/ex-partner directly, it is likely that you will be greatly assisted by obtaining an informed, neutral and expert opinion as to likely outcomes were your particular case to be brought before a court. At Family Law Associates we are pleased to offer Early Neutral Evaluations directly to members of the public who are trying to resolve their issues directly, or within mediation.   An Early Neutral Evaluation is a meeting which both parties would attend, and at which both parties would have an opportunity …

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  • Children Arbitration Scheme

    In July 2016, a new Family Law Children Arbitration Scheme will be rolled out.  At present it is possible to arbitrate financial family disputes, but not matters relating to children.  The new Children Scheme will allow disputes concerning arrangements for a child and the exercise of parental responsibility to be resolved using arbitration, rather than the court system.   The benefits of arbitration are now well established in the area of financial disputes.  One of the main advantages of arbitration is the speed with which disputes can be resolved.  When children are at the centre of a dispute, resolving matters …

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  • Will your child maintenance be taken into account when you are applying for a mortgage?

    In January 2016 the Ipswich Building Society announced that they would consider 100% of income from child maintenance when assessing mortgage affordability.  They join a list of other mortgage lenders, including NatWest and Virgin Money.  However, there are some other banks and building societies that will not take child maintenance into account, or only take a certain proportion of that income into account.   This new approach by Ipswich Building Society will make it easier for separated parents to obtain a mortgage but the child maintenance does need to be supported by the Child Maintenance Service (the successor of the …

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  • How the changes in pension drawdown rules might affect you

    The changes in the pension drawdown rules earlier this year have been well-publicised.  As from April 2015 a person aged 55 or over has the option to draw a tax free lump sum of up to 25% of the value of their pension. While this gives the person holding the pension more flexibility it can have adverse consequences for their spouse in divorce.   There is now a risk that a spouse who reaches the age of 55, prior to a final Financial Order being made, could withdraw 25% of the value of their pension in an attempt to dissipate …

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