Two-Speed Divorce Trend Driven By Property Pitfall

Year Published: 2009

Divorcing couples living in rented accommodation are separating faster because they don’t have to wait for the housing market to gather pace.

Leading divorce solicitors at SAS Daniels LLP,  are beginning to see a two-speed divorce trend.

“The bottom line, as it almost always is these days, is the bottom line: some couples have agreed to split, but are still living together because they’re waiting for their jointly-bought home to increase in value – or simply to sell,” said the Head of the Family team.

“Some couples have to wait because their house is in negative equity, but some are being bloody-minded and commercial and, despite protestations from their partners, are refusing to split without a fight because they want to make as much as possible from the house sale.

“If the property is rented, then that removes several obstacles – instead of the house being the cause of delay, it can actually be an advantage for a speedy divorce.

“If the home in question is rented, then the divorce can go through much faster than if the house was owned, had suffered a drop in value, and if the owners are holding out for the best possible price.

“The difference in the timescale can be months, or even a year. Rented accommodation is relatively straightforward to get out of – and the divorce dictates the property exit rather than the other way round for many couples.

“What we suspect may happen is that people who have divorced and are remarrying may chose to rent rather than buy next time round, which may well even lead to a mini divorcee property economy focussing on rented homes.”

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