All too often I come across people who are divorcing and decide not to obtain that all important financial order to save costs.  Less frequently, it is because they have reached an agreement, and already implemented that agreement so cannot see the point of paying for the court to approve an order.  More commonly, it is because at the point of separation or divorce there are no financial assets to deal with and it appears a waste of money simply obtaining an order dismissing theirs and their spouse’s claims against each other.  A recent case has, however, demonstrated exactly why not getting that final order may be foolish.

Kathleen Wyatt and Dale Vince were married briefly in the 80s and had one son together. They were new age travellers and were mostly financially reliant on state benefits.  They eventually divorced in 1992.  Dale Vince will say they reached an agreement at that time to go their separate ways.  Kathleen Wyatt will say there was never any sort of agreement and she was left to look after their young son.

Fast forward twenty years or so and Dale Vince is now a self-made multimillionaire and founder of green energy supplier, Ecotricity.  Kathleen Wyatt launched an application for a financial order which was eventually heard by the Supreme Court in March 2015.  The Supreme Court refused to strike out her claim and ruled that it could proceed despite the length of time which had passed.  The court was clear that as there had been no express dismissal of each party’s claims against the other, Kathleen Wyatt’s right to make a claim remained open.  The court ruled that there can be no strict limitation period on bringing a claim for a financial order.

Thereafter, the parties via their legal representatives began negotiations and were able to reach agreement recently.  The terms of the agreement were embodied into a draft order and presented to the court for approval.  The order was approved and provided for Kathleen Wyatt to receive the sum of £300,000 from Dale Vince, as well as retaining monies already paid to her on account of her costs in the amount of £325,000.

The lump sum payable to Kathleen Wyatt was of course ‘a drop in the ocean’ for Dale Vince but the case does highlight the importance of dealing with financial matters at the time of divorce.

If you are embarking on a divorce or are worried that financial matters were not dealt with at the time of divorce, then get in touch with E J Coombs Solicitors.  We offer an initial fixed fee consultation and would be delighted to provide you with any advice or assistance you may require.