Wyatt vs Vince case highlights the importance of dealing with financial matters during divorce

A recent family law case has shown the importance of dealing with matrimonial finances during divorce. The case of Vince vs Wyatt involved the financial claim of Ms Kathleen Wyatt against her ex-husband Mr Dale Vince, the founder of a highly successful Green Energy Company. In March, Ms Wyatt was granted permission to pursue a financial settlement of £1.9 million against her former husband some 20 years after they were divorced.

Whilst together, the couple lived modestly and were described as living a ‘traveller lifestyle’. They separated a few years after their marriage in 1981 and formally divorced in 1991.  Mr Vince then created his energy company and now estimated to be worth £107 million.

Mr Vince sought to have Ms Wyatt’s claim dismissed on the basis of it being outside the relevant time limits. After lengthy proceedings, however, the Supreme Court has now ruled that Ms Wyatt is entitled to pursue her claim.

Whilst the judge did not make a decision on whether Mrs Wyatt could expect to receive anything, the case may set a precedent for divorced couples who have in the past failed to deal adequately with matrimonial assets during divorce.

This is an area where Collaborative Law can really help. Unlike the court system, which can be slow and does not allow flexibility in terms of what a judge can grant; the collaborative approach enables the parties to discuss matters in a non-confrontational manner, assisted by specially trained lawyers. Importantly, as the collaborative approach is bespoke to each former couple’s circumstances, any matter can be discussed, including those that a judge would not normally have the power to rule upon, and virtually any agreement can be reached. This provides flexibility that is simply not available in court proceedings.

Agreements reached using this process are however considered by the court, and approved to make them binding. This prevents either party from seeking to revisit the issues in the future – giving financial protection and certainty for everybody involved.