The landmark case looking at wealth earned after a divorce

By Lenore Rice

There is a landmark case being heard at the Supreme Court being watched with much interest as it looks at the issue of a former spouse's right to wealth earned after a divorce.

Dale Vince went from being a penniless traveller to having an estimated £107million, all of which he earned after he divorced Kathleen Wyatt in 1992. The pair had been married for 11 years and had a son together. Mr Vince was said to be living out of an old ambulance at the time they separated. He went on to form Ecotricity, which is now one of the largest green energy companies in the UK. He was awarded an OBE in 2004, lives in a £3million mansion, and owns a sports car and a football club.

Miss Wyatt, now aged 55 says she has no money and brought a claim for child maintenance 22 years after their divorce. She says she had tried to get child maintenance shortly after they separated but that Mr Vince became 'abusive' once the Child Support Agency (CSA) got involved in 1995. She says she asked the CSA to stop the assessment because she was afraid Mr Vince would "become violent" towards her. The Court of Appeal struck out her claim for maintenance, with senior family law judge Lord Justice Thorpe saying she had left her claim too late. Miss Wyatt has however challenged the decision in the Supreme Court and the case is now ongoing.

The result of the case will potentially have huge implications in divorce cases were one spouse has gone on to attain considerable wealth after the split.

If you require legal advice or information from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by calling 0800 840 1363.

Or to read more about divorce and family law in Northern Ireland click here.