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The delayed divorce; can you ever stop looking over your shoulder?

In an unprecedented case earlier this year, Wyatt vs Vince, the Supreme Court judged that the ex-wife of a former new-age traveller, who later became multi-millionaire wind farm entrepreneur, can bring a claim for financial support from his fortune more than 30 years after their marriage broke down.
Divorce lawyers described the ruling in favour of Kathleen Wyatt as “unprecedented” and said it meant spouses could keep their options open “indefinitely” before staking a claim.
But while some said it could “open the floodgates” to “many thousands” of divorces in which financial orders were never finalised being revisited, others said the “extraordinary circumstances” of the case meant it would have only limited implications.
Issuing the judgment, Lord Wilson, sitting with four other Supreme Court Justices, emphasised, crucially, that there is no time limit in law for spouses to make a claim for financial provision.
But he said Ms Wyatt’s case claim, which will now be heard by the Family Court, faces “formidable difficulties” because of her delay in making a claim and the fact that she played no part in his later success.
It was not until 2011 that Ms Wyatt lodged a claim for financial support, arguing that he had failed to provide for their son, and her daughter, whom he had effectively accepted into the family.
Although initially given the go-ahead, the claim was blocked by the Court of Appeal which found it had “no real prospect of success” and was an “abuse of process”.
But the Supreme Court overturned that decision, noting a requirement under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to have regard to contributions from each of the parties “to the welfare of the family”, including caring for children, even after a separation.
What this case shows is the importance of obtaining proper legal advice and ensuring that at the time of the divorce the parties obtain a binding court order dealing with the division of their assets.
Contact our Family Law department for advice to ensure you get the possible outcome