Can your ex come back to haunt you?
A woman whose marriage brokedown more than 30 years ago has won the right to seek a lump sumfrom her ex-husband who became a millionaire more than a decadeafter they separated.
Mr Vince and Ms Wyatt met whenthey were students and married in 1981 and lived a new agetraveller lifestyle. They had a son and Mr Vince also treatedMs Wyatt's daughter from a previous relationship as a child of thefamily. The couple separated in 1984 and Ms Wyatt brought upthe children.
The couple's divorce wasfinalised in 1992 and even though Mr Vince claimed a financialorder was made, there is no evidence of this. In the late1990's Mr Vince went on to become a green energy tycoon afterlaunching a company called Ecotricity, which is now a multi-millionpound company. Mr Vince argued that his ex spouse had lodgedher claim for financial provision in 2011 too late, but fiveSupreme Court justices have unanimously ruled that her case shouldproceed and ordered Mr Vince to pay Ms Wyatt's costs. To dateMr Vince has indicated that he has paid £500,000 incosts.
Delay will be a factor whenthe Court determines what award Ms Wyatt may receive, but is not afactor preventing her from pursuing her claim. At present MsWyatt is seeking a lump sum of £1.9 million. The SupremeCourt has told her she is unlikely to receive this amount but afurther court hearing will determine just how much she shouldreceive.
The ruling could open thefloodgates for anyone wishing to bring a claim against an ex-spousewhere no financial court order has been made regardless of how longago they divorced. We would suggest any divorcees who don'thave financial court orders in place review their situation andseek legal advice to protect any wealth acquired after theirdivorce.
The impact this will have onMr Vince's family could be significant and felt for generations tocome.
This ruling is a clear warningfor couples who don't finalise their financial issues ondivorce. If you want a clean break with no come backs, youneed to act prudently at the time of the divorce and obtain a CourtOrder otherwise your ex spouse could come back to haunt you manyyears down the line.
For advice on all financialmatters arising in divorce/separation please contact a member ofour Family Team on 01482 337361.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.