Family law solicitors up and down the country will hear the same thing from clients. “We have agreed the finances. We do not need the expense of solicitors or an order from the court.”
However, as Glynis Wainman, divorce solicitor at Hancock Quins Solicitors in Watford explains, the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Wyatt v Vince should be considered by anyone in that position, now or in the past, as a cautionary tale.
In this case, the court was faced with an application for retrospective financial support from an ex-wife who had been divorced for over 22 years. The divorce was so old that even the Court had destroyed their files.
At the time of separation and divorce on 1992, they had been living on state benefits in a bedsit. Although the precise details are disputed, the couple may have lived together for only two years. The Judge found that their standard of living could not have been lower. Ms Wyatt continued to live on state benefits while raising their son.
The husband, Mr Vince, went on to have a colourful life, including a period living in a converted fire engine in Spain and many years in the travelling community. He then started a small business by using an old windmill to charge the mobile phones of festival goers at Glastonbury. He now lives in a Georgian hill fort and owns a company valued at around £57 million.
Despite a 31-year separation, the fact that on separation neither party had any assets, that the husband was solely responsible for the wealth generation with no contribution from the wife and that this wealth was only started 13 years after separation, she still had the right to make a claim. Mr Vince was ordered to pay a £300,000 lump sum to his ex-wife, as well as her legal bills.
This could all have been avoided if they had got an order from the court at the time of their divorce dismissing any future financial claims, which would have cost just a few hundred pounds.
At Hancock Quins, we offer a free case assessment meeting, in which all divorce and financial settlement concerns could be discussed. We also offer collaborative law, which is an excellent way of reaching a financial settlement in divorce or resolving other family law problems.
For more information on divorce, financial settlements, collaborative law or any other family law matter contact Glynis Wainman on 01923 650862 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.