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8 April 2015
There has been so much media attention recently following the somewhat controversial case of Wyatt v Vince. The couple married in 1981 and had a son together. The wife had a previous child who was 2 at the time from another relationship and was treated as a child of the family. Unfortunately they separated in 1984 and were divorced by 1992 although no agreement or Order of the court was obtained by them to deal with the financial matters. No doubt their mindframe at that time was that they did not have anything as neither the wife nor husband had much money and the husband pursued an 8 year new-age travelling lifestyle.
However in the the late 1990s, following the divorce, the husband became a multi-millionaire as his green energy business became a roaring success and in 2001 the son went to live with the ex-husband.
In 2011, some 19 years after divorce, the ex-wife made an application for the finances to be resolved; she wanted a lump sum for contribution in bringing up the children and interim payments to fund her legal costs. The ex-husband made an application to the court for her application to be struck out believing that the application had no reasonable grounds because they were poor when they got divorced. The High Court dismissed the ex-husband’s application and ordered him to pay the ex-wife’s legal fees. The ex-husband had to pay £31,250 per month for four months a total of £125,000. He appealed.
His appeal was initially successful; the Court of Appeal struck out the ex-wife’s application for financial provision and ordered her to repay part of the money that had been paid towards her legal costs. The ex-wife appealed to the Supreme Court who unanimously allowed the appeal, giving the ex-wife permission to proceed with her application against the ex-husband for Financial provision. By then he had paid her legal costs bill and the wife did not have to repay any of it.
The ex-wife is therefore now in a position to proceed with her financial claim even after 23 years; who knows what the final settlement will be in her favour. It is clear from what the Supreme Court have said that the contribution she made to caring for the family which was a greater contribution than the ex-husband is a factor which may justify a comparatively modest sum. Watch this space!
The moral of the story is clear, when you are getting divorced; ensure that your financial matters are resolved at the same time, if not you could find yourself years down the line with an application being brought by an ex-partner.
Speak to one of our Family Specialists today.