Last year there was a great deal of media coverage over the landmark case allowing an ex-wife to make a claim against her ex-husband's assets, even though they had divorced almost 20 years prior. From a moral perspective, this case seemed to be met with a great deal of hostility from the general pubic, claiming that it was unfair that such a claim could be made so far after the divorce, when the wife had no input on the success of her ex-husband's company. However the wife's claims could have quickly been dismissed 20 years ago, had the husband had the benefit of legal advice.
The reason the wife's claim was allowed was because when the couple divorced, they did not enter into an agreement providing a clean break. As a result, the financial claims between the couple remained open and the ex-wife was entitled to make such a claim. At the time of obtaining a divorce, the couple had relatively little, if anything, in the way of finances and the assumption may therefore have been that there was no need for a clean break. The husband could have obtained a clean break at any time between the divorce and the ex-wife bringing her financial claims to the Court but chose not to and as a result, his ex-wife has profited from his success.
In a landmark court ruling, a woman has won a £300,000 share of her ex-husband's fortune - more than two decades after they divorced. Kathleen Wyatt, 55, had earlier demanded a £1.9 million payout from Dale Vince, 53, although she did not lodge a maintenance claim until more than 25 years after they had separated, and nearly 20 years after their divorce.