Time isn’t up for divorce claims.
This article first appeared in the Yorkshire Evening Post – 04/05/2015
Following a recent Supreme Court ruling that a woman who was divorced more than 20 years ago may still have a financial claim against her millionaire ex-husband, we’ve already seen a number of divorcees exploring whether they may be able to make a claim and believes that many more will now come forward.
Rachel Spencer Robb, who is a partner and head of family law says: “Unlike civil or personal injury claims, there is actually no time limit when it comes to divorce cases and the recent case of Dale Vince and Kathleen Wyatt has really hammered home this very important point. If a final settlement at the time of divorce was not agreed then it’s possible for either party to pursue the other in the future when financial circumstances may have significantly improved, like in this case.”
Dale Vince and Kathleen Wyatt were both poor when they married in 1981, they broke up in 1984 and were formally divorced in 1992. Vince subsequently went onto experiment with green energy in the 1990’s and from modest beginnings eventually built up Ecotricity, a green energy business now worth an estimated £57 million.
Rachel adds: “This judgement means that anyone can look for financial settlements in the family courts decades after the breakdown of their marriages. Since the ruling we’ve already had enquiries from several people in similar situations and there are likely to be many more divorced women out there, who never made a final settlement, who are now considering their options. However, it’s important to note that whilst there is no time limit, clearly the longer things are left, the weaker the claim may be.
“With the passing of time, the harder it is to gather the right evidence as its more likely that documents are lost and that the paper trail of financial proof diminishes so anyone thinking they may have a case should act sooner rather than later.”
If you have any queries in relation to this post, please contact our Head of Family Law, Rachel Spencer Robb on 01943 885 790.