Divorce is stressful, emotional and often, financially draining. Most people think that once they are ‘divorced’, there is no possibility of further financial claims against them, even if, for instance, they were to win the lottery!
You may believe that 30 years after a divorce, your ex-spouse cannot issue financial claims against you. One should never presume!
Headlines… ‘Millionaire, Dale Vince, tycoon’s ex-wife awarded six-figure payout even though he made his fortune a decade after they split’.
Kathleen Wyatt demanded £1.9 million from Dale Vince, although she didn’t lodge a claim until 20 years after their divorce. The couple met as students, married in 1981, in their early 20s, and lived as New Age Travellers. They had one child, separated in the mid-1980s and divorced in 1992. In the 1990s Mr Vince became a green energy tycoon after launching a company called Ecotricity, worth £57 million. Ms Wyatt lodged a claim for “financial remedy” in 2011. She received a High Court green light in 2012. Three appeal judges blocked it in 2013, but the Supreme Court justices said it should go ahead.
Lord Wilson said Ms Wyatt had been unwise to pitch her claim at £1.9 million, but that there was a “real prospect” that she would get a “comparatively modest award” – perhaps enough to buy a mortgage-free house. Mr Vince said “I feel that we all have a right to move on and not be looking over our shoulders. This could signal open season for people who had brief relationships a quarter of a century ago … It’s mad in my opinion.” She was finally, after hundreds of thousands spent on legal costs, awarded £300,000.
This is alarming to hear. There is, however, a way to avoid having to spend the rest of your life, post-divorce, looking over your shoulder. Ensure you ask an experienced Family Solicitor for financial advice, during the divorce process, and have a consent order prepared, setting out all the terms of the settlement, to include, where possible, clean break provisions to prevent any comeback in the future. Simple when you know how! Don’t take the risk.
As an experienced family law solicitor, I have over 25 years’ experience practising in all areas of family law, including divorce. If you need help on this or any other area of Family Law, such as separation, Pre Nups, living together agreements, child or financial issues don’t hesitate to get in touch.