Focus on Family | Tying Up Loose Ends...

A landmark decision by the Supreme Court has enabled an ex-wife to make a claim against her millionaire ex-husband 22 years after their divorce, and 31 years after their separation, even though at the time the couple divorced in 1992 they had no assets.

When Kathleen Wyatt and Dale Vince separated after a very short marriage, they didn’t ever reach a financial agreement or get a Court Order dismissing each others claims and so it was open to Kathleen Wyatt to pursue a claim against him two decades after their divorce. Since separation, Ms Wyatt claims to have brought up the couple’s son and her daughter with little financial contribution from Mr Vince.

Ms Wyatt was seeking a sum of £1.9million and the Court of Appeal struck out her application on the basis it had no prospect of success.

The Supreme Court said the wife’s application should be allowed to proceed but stressed and outlined the “formidable difficulties” she faced and said that an award approaching £1.9 million is “out of question”. The High Court will now decide how much she should receive. The Supreme Court has indicated it should be enough to buy a modest mortgage free house. Mr Vince should consider writing a cheque now if he wants to avoid another Court hearing.

This case highlights the importance of seeking legal advice at the time of separation and divorce to ensure that there is no risk of future claims from your ex spouse.