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Divorce Mortgage Programme launched by Ipswich Building Society

Written by: Christina Hoghton
Separating couples can face huge problems getting a new mortgage, but one building society has tailored its lending criteria to the needs of borrowers facing divorce

Ipswich Building Society has launched a Divorce Mortgage Programme to help those splitting up to gain access to the mortgage market.

The first working week of the year traditionally sees a huge rise in the number of divorce enquries to solicitors. But in addition to the emotional upset of a separation, couples can also face huge financial problems, as lenders are not always flexible when it comes to assessing what divorcees can afford to borrow.

Ipswich’s new Divorce Mortgage Programme has been designed to give borrowers such as newly single parents access to the mortgage market.

All of the lender’s residential mortgages will be available to divorcees with 100% of the income from child maintenance taken into account, provided it is supported by the Child Support Agency or a court order and has at least five years to run.

In contrast, many lenders will accept just 50% of income from child maintenance, while others refuse to accept it as a form of income at all.

Research by relationship support charity Relate showed 48% of divorcing couples have at least one child under the age of 16, leaving many lone parents reliant on child payments and unable to access a mortgage.

All of Ipswich’s divorcee applications will undergo a manual underwriting process and will be considered on its individual circumstances.

The society will also accept an applicant’s stated outgoings if they are lower than the Office for National Statistics (ONS) average for everyday expenditure items like food and travel if they can provide plausible explanations.

Paul Winter, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society, said that there is little consistency in terms of lending criteria for divorcees.

He added that with the divorce rates highest among those in their forties and increasing amongst the older generation, this can add to the difficulties older borrowers already face when looking for a mortgage.

The ONS estimates there are over 2.8 million UK households containing a single parent family.

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