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Mesher Orders Explained - The Key Things You Need To Know

Determining the fate of the family home during divorce proceedings is a critical issue, given that the home often embodies significant emotional attachment and monetary worth.

Among the various solutions you may encounter for addressing the future of the marital property is the concept of a Mesher Order.

In this article, we’ll explore the topic of Mesher Orders and how they can be used in divorce financial settlement.

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    Mesher Orders Surge as Cost of Living Crisis Intensifies

    As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, an increasing number of divorcing couples are turning to mesher orders, which is a legal instrument that allows one party to remain in the family home for a set period.

    This trend has significant implications, particularly for women, who are often unable to secure independent mortgages in the current economic climate.

    What is a Mesher Order?

    A Mesher order, named after a landmark legal case, is a court directive that delays the sale of the matrimonial home.

    Typically, it allows the primary caretaker, often the mother, to reside in the family home until a specific event occurs, such as the youngest child reaching adulthood.

    This arrangement is designed to provide stability for children and financial relief to a spouse who might otherwise struggle to afford suitable accommodation immediately after a divorce.

    A mesher order can be documented in a consent order, which is a legal court document that outlines the division of assets of a divorcing couple.

    mesher orders in divorce

    The Impact of the Current Financial Climate

    The current economic downturn has made it challenging for individuals, particularly women, to obtain mortgages due to lower average incomes and potential career gaps.

    Consequently, Mesher orders have become a crucial tool for ensuring that children remain in their homes and that mothers have the opportunity to gain financial independence in a staggered, more manageable manner.

    Pros and cons of a Mesher Orders


    • Stability for Children: Mesher orders provide a stable home environment for children in the aftermath of a divorce.
    • Financial Respite: They offer a financial cushion to the residing spouse, allowing them time to become financially independent.
    • Market Flexibility: Delaying the sale of the home can be advantageous if the property market is unfavourable at the time of divorce.


    • Prolonged Financial Entanglement: These orders can result in ongoing financial links between ex-spouses, leading to potential conflicts.
    • Market Risks: There is a risk of the property losing value over time, affecting the eventual sale proceeds.
    • Restrictions on Moving Forward: The residing spouse may find their ability to start anew constrained by the continued connection to their former partner through the property.
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    Can I refuse a mesher order?

    If a court proposes a Mesher Order as part of the financial settlement, it is because the court has deemed it an appropriate solution based on the circumstances of the case.

    If one party is not in agreement with the Mesher Order, they can express their objections and present arguments against it during the legal proceedings.

    Here are some steps you might consider if you wish to refuse or contest a Mesher Order:

    1. Legal Representation: It is crucial to have legal representation to navigate family law and ensure your interests are adequately represented. A solicitor specialising in family law can provide advice on your rights and the best course of action.
    2. Negotiation: Before the court makes a final decision, there is often an opportunity for both parties to negotiate and reach an amicable agreement regarding the division of assets, including the family home.
    3. Presenting Alternatives: If you object to a Mesher Order, you may suggest alternative arrangements that could be more agreeable to both parties. This might include selling the home and dividing the proceeds or one party buying out the other’s share.
    4. Court Hearing: If you cannot reach an agreement through negotiation, the matter will be decided at a court hearing. During the hearing, you can present your reasons for refusing the Mesher Order and suggest alternative solutions.
    5. Appeal: If the court issues a Mesher Order and you believe it to be unjust or inappropriate, you may have the right to appeal the decision. An appeal must be based on solid grounds, such as the court failing to consider relevant facts or applying the law incorrectly.

    It’s important to note that the court’s primary concern is to make a decision that is in the best interest of any children involved and to ensure fairness to both parties.

    Refusing a Mesher Order can be a complex process, and the court’s decision will be based on the evidence and arguments presented to them.

    Always seek legal advice to understand your options and the potential consequences of contesting a court order.

    What are trigger events for a mesher order?

    In the context of a Mesher Order, trigger events are specific conditions or occurrences that determine when the deferred sale of the marital home will take place.

    Common trigger events in a Mesher Order might include:

    Child-related triggers:

    • The youngest child reaches the age of majority (usually 18 years old).
    • The youngest child completing secondary education.
    • The youngest child completes further education or training, such as university.

    Time-related triggers:

    • The passage of a set number of years after the divorce has been finalised.

    Remarriage or cohabitation:

    • The person remaining in the house remarries.
    • The person remaining in the house starts cohabiting with a new partner.

    Economic triggers:

    • One party’s desire or need to liquidate assets.


    • The death of the person with the right to reside in the property.

    The specific trigger events are determined during the divorce proceedings and are tailored to the unique circumstances of the divorcing couple and their children.

    They are designed to provide stability for the children while also ensuring that the other party eventually receives their share of the property value.

    When a trigger event occurs, the property is sold, and the proceeds are divided according to the terms set out in the Mesher Order.

    A Shift in Judicial Perspective

    Divorce-Online has seen a marked shift in judicial attitudes towards Mesher orders.

    Judges are increasingly imposing shorter durations for these arrangements, signalling a move towards promoting quicker financial independence and finality in divorce proceedings.

    This change reflects an understanding of the importance of moving on post-divorce but also places additional pressure on the residing spouse to secure financial stability in a shorter timeframe.

    Takeaways from this article

    The rise in Mesher orders is a direct response to the current economic challenges faced by divorcing couples, offering a temporary solution for those unable to immediately transition to separate housing.

    However, this comes with its own set of complexities and risks.

    As the judicial system adapts to these changing circumstances, individuals involved in divorce proceedings need to seek comprehensive legal advice to navigate this evolving landscape effectively.

    get started

    Need advice? Speak with our friendly team today

    If you wish to get a better understanding of your options when it comes to the matrimonial home, our expert team are on hand waiting to help.

    Request a Free Callback

    Mark Keenan - CEO of Divorce-OnlineThis post was written by Mark Keenan. Managing Director of Online Legal Services Ltd. Mark has been writing about divorce and related subjects for over 20+ years and is an expert in legal marketing.

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