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Supreme Court allows wife’s claim 18 years after divorce to go to a hearing.

By Carole Brennan

The Supreme Court has allowed the former wife’s appeal in Wyatt and Vince (2015) UK SC 15. Ms Wyatt issued a claim for financial remedy 18 years after the parties were divorced.

Ms Wyatt’s solicitors had indicated to the Court that she wanted to claim 1.9 million pounds against his assets. The parties had met as students in their early 20’s and married in 1981. They had a son and lived a new age traveller lifestyle before they divorced the Court heard.

Mr Vince set up his company Ecotricity in 1995 after the pair had split. He is now worth an estimated 107 million pounds. The Court said Ms Wyatt had raised her son through 16 years of real hardship. The Court said her claim was “legally recognisable” although the Judge thought the 1.9 million pounds she was asking for was too high an amount. The Court even acknowledged the possibility her claim might be dismissed but would not allow a summary dismissal of the case without the Court hearing the full matter.

Mr Vince reacted by indicating he felt he had a right to move on and not be looking over his shoulder and Ms Wyatt’s lawyers said she had been through a difficult time and was pleased the High Court would now consider her claim.

The moral from his story is that when a divorce occurs if you don’t seek a final financial order then you are open to claims being made in the future some times years later. It is important to obtain experienced legal advice and have an Order drawn up at the time of the divorce.

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