On Friday, 10 June 2016 the High Court approved the settlement reached in the high profile case of Wyatt v Vince marking the end of a long road of highly contested litigation. The judgment is highly significant for divorcing couples contemplating putting off dealing with their financial affairs to a later date.
Many will be familiar with the facts of the case, the key feature being that Ms Wyatt made financial claims against her former husband, Mr Vince, 19 years after decree absolute was made and their marriage was legally dissolved. Further, in the interim Mr Vince had developed a hugely successful wind power business which had an estimated value of £57 million.
The husband attempted to strike out the wife's claim. He failed at first instance but succeeded in the Court of Appeal. Many will recall however that this judgment was overturned in March of last year by the Supreme Court following the huge media attention that the case attracted.
The Supreme Court directed the wife's application to proceed in the Family Division of the High Court. The parties returned to Court and in their subsequent negotiations through their legal representatives, reached an agreement by consent which would see the wife receiving a lump sum of £300,000 and a contribution of £325,000 towards her legal expenses.
The court found that that the settlement reached was reasonable, starting that "the lump sum payment agreed between the parties fairly represents ... a realistic and balanced appraisal of the unusual circumstances of the case, having particular regard to the factors set out in s 25 (1) and (2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973".
The case has captured the public's imagination with its striking and unusual features and it is hoped that it will raise awareness of the importance of dealing with divorce and financial matters at the same time to ensure a financially secure and certain future. Had Mr Vince addressed his financial affairs at the time of his separation from Ms Wyatt and obtained a clean break, the likelihood is that he would be a minimum of £625,000 better off without even taking into account his own legal bill.
We are highly experienced in advising on divorce and financial matters. If you require any advice or assistance with these matters, please do not hesitate to contact Beverley Jones on 0151 907 3372 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a free half hour consultation.This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.