A financial settlement 20 years after divorce


The ex-wife of a successful businessman has been awarded a lump sum payment of £300,000 nearly 20 years after the couple divorced.  
The parties had met as students in their early 20s, married in 1981, separated a few years thereafter and divorced in 1992.

Mr Vince then went on to set up a business which has an estimated worth in excess of £50million.

Mrs Wyatt took legal action against her former husband 25 years after they separated, and 19 years after they had divorced, commencing her application in 2011. She had initially demanded £1.9million but had her claim thrown out as an abuse of process. On appeal the Supreme Court allowed her application to proceed, albeit commenting that her demand for £1.9 million was wholly unrealistic.

The parties have now reached an agreement that has been approved by a High Court Family Judge. A payment is to be made to Mrs Wyatt in the sum of £300,000 although it is likely that most if not all of this sum is going to be eaten up by Mrs Wyatt’s legal costs.

What this means for others

Mr Sheville, a Partner in the Family Law Department at Pinney Talfourd commented “although this case resulted in a settlement, the terms of the agreement still had to be approved by the Court, whose function is to ensure that the agreement is fair and reasonable. It is not a simple ‘rubber stamping’ exercise. In coming to his decision to approve the settlement, the Judge would have needed to consider a number of factors including the financial needs and resources of the parties, the passage of time and what in all the circumstances would be fair”

Mr Sheville further commented “this ruling should not be considered as a means for former spouses to bring financial claims against their former husband or wife just because the former husband or wife has gone on to be financially successful in later years. Every case will of course turn on its own facts and it is important to note that there is no ‘second bite at the cherry’ as one cannot, save in the most extreme circumstances, re-visit a final order.

More Information

If you would like more information please contact our Family Law Department on 01708 229444 or book a free initial family consultation using our online booking form.

This article was written by Michael Sheville, Family Law solicitor and Partner at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at June 2016.


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