You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

Ex wife can make financial application 30 years after divorce finalised says Supreme Court

The recently reported decision of the Supreme Court of Kathleen Wyatt and Dale Vince highlights the importance of ensuring your matrimonial finances are finalised as soon as possible after the divorce if not contemporaneous with it.

In this case Ms Wyatt was divorced 23 years ago in 1992, before Mr Vince’s exceptional success in business but they had not finalised any financial settlement between them. Now all these years on, Ms Wyatt seeks to make a claim against Mr Vince’s fortune – and this is potentially possible because the court has decided the claims stemming from their divorce have not yet been determined and so are still alive notwithstanding the long passage of time.

The Supreme Court has decided that the length of time has not made a difference to her ability to make her claims even though Mr Vince argued most strongly that her claims should be dismissed.

It remains to be seen how successful she will be in actually being awarded anything as she has been advised she faces “formidable difficulties” in establishing she should have the share that she seeks, but for now, she is at least able to make her claim and the case should proceed to a short hearing.

This is something she could not have done had they entered into a Clean Break Order all those years ago as both their respective claims against each other would have been dismissed.

So if you are divorcing and even if you have little or nothing to split between you in terms of assets, it is wise to finalise your matrimonial financial situation by way of a Clean Break Order to prevent your spouse returning many years in the future seeking a share of the assets you may have built up by then.

If you think you may need specialist advice on the financial implications of your separation and divorce please contact us on 0207 4260 400.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.