Anita Shepherd on Wyatt v Vince

Yesterday there was a landmark (and much publicised) ruling in the case of Wyatt v Vince which saw the wife being given permission to proceed with her financial claims against her former husband whom she separated from 30 years ago and divorced 22 years ago.  The Supreme Court has ruled that the wife’s claims are “legally recognisable” and “not an abuse of process”.

There is a lesson to be learned here for separating/divorcing couples in that it is imperative that at the time of the divorce they also obtain a Clean Break Consent Order which would bring their matrimonial financial claims to an end even if they do not have any assets at the time of the separation as future assets they accumulate could be at risk.

Over my sixteen year career as a family lawyer, I have found that clients generally believe that it is the Decree Absolute of a divorce (i.e. when the marriage is dissolved) which is when the financial claims are extinguished but this is not true.

My prediction is that the ruling could re-open a raft of other cases where a spouse has delayed in bringing such a claim.

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