The Supreme Court in a landmark decision (Wyatt –v- Vince (2015) UKSC15) has allowed a wife to proceed with a financial claim against her former husband 22 years after their divorce.
Dale Vince married Kathleen Wyatt in 1981 when they were both penniless travellers living a “new age” lifestyle. They divorced in 1992. In 1995 Vince founded Ecotricity, now one of the UK’s biggest green energy companies. He is said to be worth £107 million. Wyatt took Vince to Court in 2014 seeking £1.9 million.
The High Court ruled that Wyatt’s claim should be considered but this was overturned by the Court of Appeal after Vince argued it had been lodged too late. The Supreme Court has now allowed Wyatt’s appeal against that decision.
The ruling essentially now paves the way for anyone without a completed Financial Order to bring a claim against their former spouse regardless of how long ago they divorced.
The case highlights the importance of ensuring that all financial matters are finalised at the time of divorce and a Court Order is obtained. Otherwise it could lead to future claims for a share of the wealth earned after the divorce many years later.
It is therefore vital that people getting divorced should ensure through their divorce lawyer that all financial matters are finalised and immune to future claims by way of what is called a Clean Break Order. Any divorcees who do not have a Clean Break Financial Order in place should review their situation as they may now face claims against them in the future.
AST Hampsons are experts in this field and will be pleased to advise anyone who is concerned about their position as a result of this important case.