Wealth acquired after divorce is ‘fair game’
Sadly, when a marriage comes to an end then often a couple will divorce. However, there may be other matters to be considered such as arrangements for children and finances.
Sorting out finances when divorcing can be difficult and the recent case involving Dale Vince and Kathleen Wyatt at the Supreme Court shows how important it is to have a written agreement sealed by the Court.
At the time of their divorce, clearly Mr Vince and Miss Wyatt saw no need to sort out their financial position. Undoubtedly they had little assets at this stage and were perhaps quite unaware that orders dealing with assets that are sealed by the Court will go on to dismiss future claims. Clearly, if Mr Vince had legal advice at the time of the divorce, he may well have decided to enter into a financial agreement with Miss Wyatt which would have had the effect of dismissing future claims and he would not have found himself in front of the Supreme Court some 23 years later.
Not only has his former wife succeeded in persuading the Supreme Court that she still has the right to put her case before the Court, the parties have combined legal costs of around £500,000 and they are likely to rise.
It is still not clear what, if any, sum Miss Wyatt will get but it does show that claims will not be dismissed in the absence of a sealed Order from the Court. It is therefore important to get legal advice when separating so that you can make informed decisions.
Having a Court Order does not mean that you have to go to Court and incur large legal bills. By far and large the majority of couples are able, with the assistance of lawyers, to have a Consent Order drawn up dealing with the financial matters arising out of their divorce and then going on to dismiss future claims without the need to actually attend Court.
Mr Vince is not the first to be caught out by not having such an order. In 2010, Nigel Page found that his former wife whose 11 year marriage had ended 2000 and remained amicable, were then facing each other in Court since he won £56m on the Euromillions and they had not entered into an agreement to dismiss their future claims.
Whether you are wealthy, have modest or even no assets, it is important to consider entering into a clean break order to ensure the past does not come back to haunt you.
We at Hegarty Solicitors can help couples resolve financial matters arising out of their divorce and give both parties future peace of mind.