The decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Kathleen Wyatt and Dale Vince underlines the need for divorcing couples to sort out their finances even if they have no money.
The couple separated and divorced 20 years ago. They had one son and no money having lived a new age traveller lifestyle
Ms Wyatt brought up their son living on benefits. Mr Vince developed a wind turbine and over the next 20 years amassed assets of £107 million. Ms Wyatt sought a share of that, Mr Vince opposed it on the basis that it had been accrued post separation and that 20 years had passed.
The Supreme Court determined that Ms Wyatt has a modest claim, perhaps enough to purchase a house.
So how could this situation have been avoided? By resolving financial issues at the time of divorce and ensuring that any agreement is embodied into writing and approved by the court in an order that dismisses all future cleans and achieves a clean break (a consent order). As Mr Vince has found out this applies even if you have no assets. However unlikely it may seem at the time you may come into wealth a later time and without a clean break order could find that wealth being shared.
For those people who are divorced and don’t have an order this case is a reminder of what could happen.
At Higgins Miller Solicitors we can help with the financial issues arising from a divorce, whether that is preparing a clean break consent order under our fixed fee scheme or pursuing your spouse for your share of the family assets