Ex-wife claims maintenance 20yrs after divorce

A former new age traveller who was penniless when he divorced his wife in 1992 is now facing a maintenance claim 20 years later, having now become a multi-millionaire.

Dale Vince, now aged 51, married Kathleen Wyatt after meeting in 1981, and they lived together with Ms Wyatt's daughter from a previous relationship. They split in 1984, shortly before the birth of their own son, and when they were legally divorced in 1992 Mr Vince was not ordered to pay any maintenance because he was had no money. She later on started a new wind energy business out of the back of his trailer, that went on to become a multi-million pound award-winning business. He has since earned an OBE for his services to the environment.

Ms Wyatt however, remains relatively penniless, and also claims that they were together as a couple repeatedly in the 1990s, which Mr Vince denies. Ms Wyatt says she had previously asked for assistance but that Mr Vince had provided nothing more than "pocket money" and a three old cards for his son and step-daughter. Between 1996 and 1997, Mr Vince was asked to make a financial disclosure to the CSA and they again concluded that a "nil assessment" applied and no maintenance should be paid, despite his business interests at that time.

The High Court refused to strike out Ms Wyatt's claim for maintenance, and said the court would have to decide if her claim was "so old and so stale" that it should not be allowed to proceed.

Solicitors and divorcees will watch the case with considerable interest as a decision in favour of Ms Wyatt would have significant ramifications for divorces past and present.

If you require legal advice from a divorce solicitors in respect of child maintenance, divorce settlement calculation, child custody, child access, or any other matter relating to a separation, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 1363.