Mesher Orders Explained

5 May 2022 | Joanne Wescott
mesher order house

What is a Mesher order?

A Mesher Order allows the sale of the family home to be postponed in a divorce case, either for a fixed length of time or until a trigger event happens. It is typically used where one party wants to stay in the family home with the children but is unable to get a mortgage or make the monthly mortgage payments on their own.

In this situation, a Mesher Order will enable the property to remain in the divorced couple’s joint names until the sale is triggered, and for both parties to remain on the mortgage.

What are trigger events?

Common trigger events might be:

  • The children leave home
  • The children finish their full-time education
  • The youngest child reaches 18
  • The person living in the family home decides to remarry or cohabit with their new partner

What are the advantages of a Mesher order?

Advantages of a Mesher Order can include:

  • Meeting the immediate housing requirements of the parent with care and the children
  • Avoiding the stress of having to sell the family home
  • Minimising disruption to the children
  • Giving the children security by enabling them to remain in the same school
  • Avoiding losing money or a negative equity situation by delaying the sale of family home

What are the disadvantages of a Mesher Order?

While Mesher Orders can provide stability in the short-term, they may not offer the best long-term solution. Disadvantages of Mesher Order include:

  • Keeping you financially tied to your ex for longer than you might like
  • The stability in your living arrangements is only temporary, as the marital home will still have to be sold later on
  • Ties up your capital for a significant number of years, which can make it harder to get a mortgage on another property
  • Capital gains tax liabilities for the non-occupying partner if they have bought another home as their primary residence

Are there any alternatives to a Mesher Order?

When it comes to the family home, a Mesher Order is just one of many options. Alternatives include:

  • Selling the family home and splitting the money
  • One partner buying the other out
  • Transferring some of the ownership to one partner; the departing spouse would then own a smaller share but would get some of their equity out of the property straight away

It is always a good idea to seek professional advice from an expert family solicitor who can talk you through the options and establish what the best way forward for you.

How do you get a Mesher Order?

If you and your partner agree on a Mesher Order, your solicitor will draft the Order into the financial settlement agreement. The agreement will then go to the Judge for approval.

If you and your partner cannot agree, then one of you would need to make an application to the court for a Financial Order, which could include a request for a Mesher Order. The judge will review all the financial documents and make an order regarding the finances at the end of the court proceedings.

For a free confidential discussion with a divorce lawyer, call 0207 485 8811 or complete an online enquiry form.

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