Were you surprised by the Vince /Wyatt case reported in the press agreeing that an ex wife was able to make a financial claim against her ex husband after 20 years?
I was not surprised! It is a very clearly understood principle of family law that unless financial claims are formally dismissed by the Court at the time the divorce is finalised then the door remains open forever for future financial claims.
In the case reported, the couple had married over 20 years before, had a child and divorced at a time when they had very little money. However, Mr Vince went on to become very wealthy establishing a green energy company. Mrs Wyatt's future had not been so lucrative and after a significant period of time she is seeking to make a claim against his considerable wealth.
This need to 'dismiss future claims' at the time of divorce is a matter I discuss with every client - we simply do not know what the future holds. A lottery win, an unexpected inheritance, a considerable pension pot built up over a long career - all can result in improved circumstances which might be the subject of a claim from an ex spouse.
Many times I hear of couples not bothering to 'close this door' because they do not feel they have sufficient monies to involve a solicitor, no one has mentioned this risk, or they simply do not want to pay the legal fees involved. I can advise but I cannot insist - I draw the diagram, I explain the risks but for those of my clients who ignore my advice they do so at their peril.
Mr Vince has, he tells the press, spent over £500,000 in costs defending the claim - he should have spent £300 - £500 obtaining the appropriate order at the time of his divorce!
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