Rogers & Norton News

FINANCIAL CLAIMS ON DIVORCE AND TIME LIMITATIONS

Friday, March 13, 2015

As all good divorce lawyers know and repeatedly tell their clients, divorce does not end financial claims that one party to a marriage has against the other.  Your solicitor will tell you this from the outset and where there are no assets encourage you to enter into a Clean Break Consent Order ending financial claims that each of you has against the other.  This is a cost effective exercise.

The recent case of Wyatt v Vince has not changed this, it has simply clarified that you cannot prevent such claims being brought so many years after the event.  This couple divorced 23 years ago when both were new age travellers living at benefit subsistence levels.  Over the passage of time Mr Vince amassed a fortune via his company which is valued at £107million.  Ms Wyatt seeks a claim of around £1.9 million from Mr Vince to satisfy her claims.

Of course the passage of time affects the value of the claims Ms Wyatt has against Mr Vince since Mr Vince’s wealth was acquired post separation and subsequent to decree absolute.   However, given the net worth of Mr Vince, it is likely that she will still recover sufficient assets to meet her needs, albeit on a limited basis.  Any award is likely to focus on ensuring her future housing needs are met through a mortgage free property, which, given the value of the assets, is achievable.  In this case Ms Wyatt  raised a child from the marriage without any significant financial support from Mr Vince whilst he was developing his business.  Therefore the Court may attribute an element of compensation for this reason.

As yet no financial award has been given to Ms Wyatt but the implications of any award will resonate loudly with those former spouses who find themselves in similar vulnerable positions and who have not resolved their financial claims against each other during their divorce.

If you are looking to divorce or for further advice on this area of law then please contact Kerry Rowell at kr@rogers-norton.co.uk or Averil Ballam on avb@rogers-norton.co.uk or telephone 01603 666001.