The New Age Traveller who became a mulit-millionaire!
You may have recently read in the media The Supreme Court’s decision in Wyatt v Vince. This is the tale of the New Age Traveller who became a multi-millionaire! This tale is a powerful reminder of the need to resolve all financial matters at the time that you divorce. Even if there are no current assets to distribute, you must prohibit future claims in order to protect any future assets that you may have in years to come; known as a Clean Break Consent Order.
Mr and Ms Wyatt were married on 18 December 1981. They had a son, and Mr Vince also treated Ms Wyatt’s daughter from a previous relationship as a Child Of The Family. They separated in 1984 (after just over 2 years of marriage). For around 8 years after that, Mr Vince pursued a new-age travelling lifestyle. Ms Wyatt brought up the children in difficult financial circumstances; Mr Vince was not in a position to make any substantial financial contribution for them.
The couple divorced and their decree absolute was granted in October 1992. Since then the court file was apparently mislaid and it was unknown what, if any, orders were made at the time of the divorce regarding financial provision. The court had no reason to believe that Ms Wyatt’s claims were dismissed.
Ms Wyatt went on to have two more children but never remarried. From the late 1990s Mr Vince’s green energy business took off and he became a multi-millionaire. In 2001, the couple’s son went to live with Mr Vince. Ms Wyatt’s financial circumstances continued to be, and remained, very modest. She lived in an ex- council house which was mortgaged and in a bad state of repair. She was in low paid employment and relied on benefits to top up her income. The 3 adult children who live with her were noted to only make minimal contributions to the household. Ms Wyatt was also said to be in poor health.
In 2011 Ms Wyatt made an application in the divorce proceedings for financial support from Mr Wyatt in the form of a lump sum. She also applied for short term payments to fund her legal costs. After many court appeals by both parties, it was agreed between them that Ms Wyatt receive £300,000 from her former husband “in full and final satisfaction of all forms of financial relief (including claims as to income, capital, property adjustment, pension and inheritance”.
Had the parties entered into a Clean Break Consent Order when they divorced, Ms Wyatt would have been prevented from bringing her claim years later. This highlights the importance of obtaining the right legal advice when you are separating. Unfortunately many people mistakenly think that obtaining a Decree Absolute is the end of the financial relationship. As can be seen from this sorry tale, you are never financially free from your ex-husband or wife unless you have a Final Court Order or a Clean Break Consent Order.
If you need help with your divorce or separation, then why not contact us for a Next Steps Divorce Advice Session and to see how we can help you. We can be contacted on:
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