Ex-wife allowed to claim against millionaire 20 yrs after divorce

By Lenore Rice

A landmark divorce case ruling in the Supreme Court has paved the way for a woman to claim money from her ex-husband 20 years after they separated.

Kathleen Wyatt, now aged 55, and Dale Vince, aged 53, were married in 1981 and had one son together. They lived a New Age traveller lifestyle and after their divorce in 1992 Ms Wyatt lived on benefits, while Mr Vince went on to found the very successful green energy company Ecotricity, which made him a millionaire. Nearly 20 years after their divorce Ms Wyatt sought to make a financial remedy claim against her husband, which was approved in 2012 by the High Court, and then blocked a year later on appeal. The Supreme Court has now ruled that the claim should be heard and the matter will now pass on to the Family Division of the High Court.

One of the judges, Lord Wilson, said the financial remedy claim was "legally recogniseable" but dismissed the £1.9million figure that Ms Wyatt was supposedly claiming as "out of the question". He considered that she had a good chance of winning a "comparatively modest award".

Mr Vince was "disappointed" with the decision, saying that the passage of time would complicate his defence because "there is no paperwork in existence". He also expressed concern about the precedent that could be created, saying it "could signal open season for people who had brief relationships a quarter of a century ago".

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