The Supreme Court has today, allowed a former Wife to make a claim against the Husband she separated from 31 years ago.
Mr Vince and Ms Wyatt met as students in their early 20s and married in 1981. They separated just 2 years later and divorced in 1992.
Ms Wyatt lived on benefits, while Mr Vince lived in an old ambulance before he launched green energy firm Ecotricity, 3 years after their divorce. He started the business using a wind turbine he had made from recycled materials to power his caravan.
He is now worth an estimated £107m and has an OBE.
In 2011, the Wife applied to the court for a lump sum payment and maintenance. Her case went before the Court of Appeal in 2013 and was struck out. She appealed to the Supreme Court and the Judges have this morning unanimously reinstated her application.
Jackson LJ confirmed that in his opinion, the Wife’s application has “a real prospect of comparatively modest success, perhaps an order which will enable her… to purchase a somewhat more comfortable, and mortgage free, home.”
- What was effectively a 2-year marital cohabitation
- A marriage which broke down 31 years ago
- The Husband found success 13 years after separation
- The Wife made absolutely no contribution to his company
All husbands and wives need to be aware that there is no time limit to apply to a court for a financial settlement following a divorce.
This is completely different to other areas of law where there are strict time limits, for example, for breach of contract or personal injury.
If you want protection from such claims, you need to obtain an order from the court at the time of the divorce, providing for a clean break. This really is the only way to guarantee that, if you come into some money in the future that you can be sure that you can keep it.
If you would like more information on any of the issues covered in this article or any other area of family law, contact Kirpal Bidmead.