Kathleen Wyatt has made national news today, having been told that her campaign to receive financial restitution from her ex-husband will be successful. Doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary? Think again. Kathleen and her ex, Dale Vince, were divorced 20 years ago!
So why is this woman taking the time and expense to drag her ex through the courts you ask? Well, having founded Ecotricity (a wind-power firm) in 1995, AFTER they split, it is estimated that he is now worth in excess of £107 million. Having raised the couple’s son for 16 years, in what has been described as ‘real hardship’, the question remains… is she right to try to claim £1.9million form him, after the fact?
Many observers seem to be staggered, not only be the court’s decision to hear the case, but that she is demanding so much money, a thought seemingly mirrored by the presiding judge, Lord Wilson, who stated;
“It is obvious, even at this stage, that an award approaching that size is out of the question,”
Despite this verdict, he stated that Kathleen’s claim is “legally recognisable” and not an “abuse of process”.
Clive Coleman, the BBC legal affairs correspondent commented;
“This is a striking ruling that underlines the fact there is no time limit for ex-spouses to apply to a court for a financial settlement following a divorce – however weak their claim may be. Whereas there are strict time limits in other claims, such as those for breach of contract or personal injury, these claims can clearly be made decades after the divorce itself. The judgment is also a timely reminder that divorcing couples who want protection from such claims, even if they have no money at all, should obtain an order from the court at the time of the divorce, in which they both agree that there will be no further financial claims. That is the only way to guarantee that, if one of them goes on to make a fortune, they get to keep it.”
So what do you think? Are dividends after divorce acceptable or should a decree absolute make ex-spouses ineligible to cash in?