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Wife Wins Claim for Financial Remedy

The Ex-wife of Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince has succeeded in her application for financial remedy despite having been divorced for 22 years.

Background

The parties met when students and married in 1981. They lived a new age traveller lifestyle. They separated in the mid 1980’s and divorced in 1992. Dale Vince launched his Ecotricity business in 1995 after using a wind turbine he had made from recycled materials to power his caravan. He has subsequently become a green energy tycoon. Ms Waytt lodged her application for financial remedy in 2011, 19 years after the parties divorced.

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The Application

The Application was for financial remedy, which is a claim to resolve financial issues arising out of divorce proceedings. It includes the making of an application to the Court by either spouse for financial provision orders although making an application to the Court is not essential and it is generally encouraged for parties to resolve financial issues by negotiations through solicitors and/or mediation.

The main issue for the Court before it could decide her claims was whether she had waited too long to bring the claim. A Judge ruled that Ms Wyatt’s claim for financial remedy should go ahead following a High Court Hearing in 2012. The Court of Appeal in 2013 however overturned this decision, ruling that the claim should be blocked after Mr Vince argued that the application had been made far too late. Five Supreme Court justices subsequently ruled in favour of Ms Wyatt further to considering the case in great detail at a hearing in December 2014, confirming a Judge in the Family Division of the High Court should consider her claim. The decision was finally made today and Ms Wyatt’s application for financial remedy was successful. We await further information as to how much Ms Wyatt will receive from her claim.

The Application in this case was successful, despite the length of time since the parties had divorced as there was no evidence or paperwork to prove that the financial matters had been concluded successfully at the time of the divorce.

What effect will this decision have?

This decision could have serious ramifications for many and this should provide a stark warning to those currently seeking a divorce to ensure financial issues, arising out of divorce proceedings are resolved so that claims cannot be made in the future. Unfortunately, there is currently no guidance in statute or case law clarifying a time limit in bringing a claim for financial remedy which means that any previous divorce concluded under the Law of England and Wales without there being the necessary evidence to prove financial issues concluded satisfactorily could currently be open to applications for financial remedy.

It will be interesting to see whether any guidelines arise from this decision and what repercussions, if any this will have on future claims for financial remedy.