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Ex-wife launches huge claim 20 years after divorce

The landmark case has been sanctioned by the Supreme Court and will now be heard in the family courts.
Kathleen Wyatt, 55 first filed a claim against millionaire Dale Vince in 2011. But the ex-husband appealed against the claim on the basis that the claim had been brought too late.
Mr Vince, who made his estimated £107m fortune from wind-power firm Ecotricity, said the court’s decision was “mad”. He added: “We all have a right to move on and not be looking over our shoulders.”This could signal open season for people who had a brief relationship a quarter of a century ago.”
Lord Wilson, in delivering the Supreme Court ruling, said: “The court must have regard to the contribution of each party to the welfare of the family, including by looking after the home or caring for the family.”
He went on to recognise that Ms Wyatt had “raised her son through sixteen years of real hardship” and said her claim was “legally recognisable” although an award “approaching that size is out of the question.”
Don Bird, head of Atherton Godfrey’s Family Department, said: “This case highlights the importance of finalising a divorce properly. Unless there is a ‘clean break’ or ‘financial order’ in place, either party is free to apply to the court for a financial settlement at any time following a divorce.
“In this case, Ms Wyatt is unlikely to secure the amount she is claiming, nevertheless, there is a very real likelihood that she will secure a sizeable award, far more than Mr Vince would have wanted to pay.”
If you need advice about financial claims arising out of divorce, please contact us on 01302 320621 or email

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