Mesher Order in UK Family Law

Mesher Order in UK Family Law

When a couple decide to end their marriage, there are many issues that need to be resolved, including the division of matrimonial assets. In the UK, the family home is often the most valuable asset and can be a source of contention during divorce proceedings. Who gets the house in divorce?” is a very common and sometimes complex question because there are so many possible outcomes. In this article, we will explore one outcome, the Mesher Order.

What is a Mesher Order?

A Mesher Order is a type of court order that delays the sale of the family home until a specific event, known as a trigger event, occurs. This allows the primary caregiver to remain in the home with the children until they are older or until they are able to support themselves.

Trigger Events for a Mesher Order

The trigger events for a Mesher Order typically include specific circumstances that must occur before the family home can be sold. These events can vary but commonly include:

  • The youngest child reaching a certain age or completing their education
  • The recipient spouse remarrying or cohabitating
  • Any other event specified by the Court such as a specific amount of time passed
  • Death of the person with the right to reside in the property
  • One party needing to liquidate assets

These trigger events are crucial as they determine when the division of assets, particularly the family home, will take place, ensuring stability and financial security for the parties involved.

How Does a Mesher Order Work?

A Mesher Order is typically granted when the court believes that it is in the best interest of the children to remain in the family home. The order will specify the percentage of the property that each spouse is entitled to when it is eventually sold. This percentage is often based on the contributions each spouse made to the purchase of the property.

For example, if one spouse contributed 70% of the funds for the purchase of the home, they may be entitled to 70% of the proceeds when the home is eventually sold. The remaining 30% would go to the other spouse.

Advantages of a Mesher Order

One of the main advantages of a Mesher Order is that it allows the primary caregiver to remain in the family home with the children. This can provide stability and continuity for the children during a difficult time. It also allows the recipient spouse to have a place to live without having to immediately find a new home.

Another advantage is that it can provide financial security for the primary caregiver and the children. They do not have to worry about finding a new home or paying rent, which can be a significant expense. This can also give the primary caregiver time to find a job or increase their earning potential before the home is eventually sold.

Disadvantages of a Mesher Order

While a Mesher Order can provide many benefits, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider. One of the main disadvantages is that it can delay the division of marital assets and the financial independence of both parties. With a Mesher Order a clean break order is not possible and this can be frustrating for the spouse who is entitled to a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the home.

Another disadvantage is that the recipient spouse may not have any control over the maintenance and upkeep of the property. This can lead to disputes and disagreements if the primary caregiver does not properly maintain the home.

When is a Mesher Order Appropriate?

A Mesher Order is typically granted in situations where there are children involved and the primary caregiver needs to remain in the family home. It is also more likely to be granted if the recipient spouse does not have the financial means to purchase a new home or pay rent.

Factors Considered by the Court

When deciding whether to grant a Mesher Order, the court will consider several factors, including:

  • The needs of the children
  • The financial resources of both parties
  • The length of the marriage
  • The contributions each spouse made to the purchase of the property
  • The age and health of both parties
  • Any other relevant factors

How to Apply for a Mesher Order

If you believe that a Mesher Order is appropriate in your situation, you can apply for one during the divorce proceedings. It is important to seek legal advice from a family law solicitor to ensure that your application is properly prepared and presented to the Court.

Mediation

In some cases, the Court may require the parties to attend mediation before making a decision on a Mesher Order. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps the parties reach an agreement on issues such as the division of assets. It can be a more cost-effective and less adversarial way to resolve disputes.

Alternatives to a Mesher Order

While a Mesher Order can provide many benefits, it may not be the best option for every couple. There are several alternatives that may be more appropriate depending on the circumstances.

Sale and Split of Proceeds

One alternative is for the family home to be sold and the proceeds split between the parties. This may be the best option if both parties are able to find suitable housing and there are no children involved.

Transfer of Property

Another option is for one spouse to transfer their share of the property to the other spouse. This may be appropriate if one spouse wants to remain in the home and is able to buy out the other spouse’s share.

Deferred Charge

A deferred charge is similar to a Mesher Order in that it delays the sale of the property until a specific event occurs. However, instead of specifying a percentage of the proceeds, the deferred charge is a specific amount that is owed to the recipient spouse when the property is eventually sold.

Seek Legal Advice

A Mesher Order can be a useful tool in family law to provide stability and financial security for the primary caregiver and children during a divorce. However, it is important to carefully consider all options and seek legal advice before making a decision. The article above only provides a very basic overview of a complex legal arrangement so it’s important to seek legal advice from a family law solicitor. By fully understanding the concept of a Mesher Order and its potential impact, you can make informed decisions during the divorce process.

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2024-03-04T14:45:25+00:00
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