Ruling due on post-divorce payout

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Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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A former New Age traveller whose ex-husband became a millionaire more than a decade after they separated is waiting to hear whether she has won a cash fight in the Supreme Court.

Kathleen Wyatt wants a payout from Dale Vince – although she did not lodge a claim until nearly 20 years after they divorced.

A judge ruled that her claim should be considered following a High Court hearing.

Court of Appeal judges overturned that decision – ruling that the claim should be blocked after Mr Vince complained it had been lodged too late.

Five Supreme Court justices are today due to deliver their verdict – after analysing the case at a hearing in London in December.

The couple had met when students, married in 1981, when in their early 20s, and lived a New Age traveller lifestyle, justices were told.

They separated in the mid-1980s and divorced in 1992.

In the mid-1990s Mr Vince had begun a business career and gone on to become a green energy tycoon after launching a company called Ecotricity.

Ms Wyatt had lodged a claim for “financial remedy” in 2011.

Justices heard that Ms Wyatt had lived in Lowestoft, Suffolk, Sunderland and the Forest of Dean. Mr Vince had lived in Bath.

Deputy High Court judge Nicholas Francis gave Ms Wyatt’s claim the green light in 2012.

Three appeal judges blocked it in 2013.

Charmaine Hast, a senior family lawyer at law firm Wedlake Bell, said the Supreme Court ruling could have ramifications and added: “If the court awards her a generous financial settlement based on Mr Vince’s post-divorce acquired wealth, it will be a stark warning to parties to get their house in order.

“There can be no justification for not completing a divorce and properly tackling the finances, so that the door on future claims is firmly shut.

“If the court does not entertain Ms Wyatt’s case, it will be intriguing to see whether they lay down a reasonable time limit in bringing such a claim. There is no such guidance in statute or case law on this at the moment and such a situation demands clarification.”

Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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