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Berkeley Lifford Hall Accountancy ServicesAlphabiolabsHousing Law Week

Clean breaks in middle income divorces proving to be unachievable in recession hit Britain.

Increasingly, divorcing “stretched middle income” couples have to resort to Mesher orders or even house sharing agreements

As the recession continues to bite, middle income families are finding that increasingly, clean breaks on divorces are simply unachievable.  A combination of increasing prices, redundancies, threats to job security, tougher lending criteria by mortgage lenders and adult children continuing to live at home well into their early twenties, is leading to a change in middle income divorce settlement solutions.

Mesher orders (i.e. an order for sale of the former matrimonial home in which the sale is postponed until the youngest child attains 18 or finishes full time education or training) are said to be on the rise.  Traditionally, many family lawyers have tended to try to avoid such orders because of the inherent difficulties that can result from them. The spouse who remains in the house (usually the wife) has to sell the house in which she has lived with the children or raise capital to buy out the former spouse's interest at a time when she may struggle to get mortgage finance. There can also be CGT implications for the other spouse where he has purchased another property and which he has occupied as his principal private dwelling house.

However, an article in the Independent on 20 August 2011 gives a bleak picture of the problems that some middle income divorcing couples face with some even resorting to house sharing agreements post divorce.