An ex-wife has received a lump sum of £300,000 from her ex-husband 32 years after they separated and 24 years after they divorced. The husband must also pay £326,000 of her solicitor’s costs as well! This expensive but common divorce mistake could have been avoided.
If you are going through divorce or separation then make sure you avoid it by taking legal advice.
There’s a common misconception that getting a divorce means that everything is finalised, including the financial matters. It does not as this case has shown.
After many court hearings, Ms Wyatt and Mr Vince reached an agreement settling their financial claims against each other.
The case was unusual and it’s worth pointing out a little bit of background to help make sense of it all.
- The couple met and married in 1981.
- The wife had a young daughter who was treated by the husband as a child of the family.
- The couple then had a child together. The wife later had 2 more children.
- The husband stopped living with the wife in 1984.
- The divorce was finalised in 1992.
- No financial order appears to have been made.
- The husband went from being a new age traveler to running a company worth in excess of £57 million!
- The wife is in poor heath and continues to provide a home for some of her children.
- The husband failed to adequately provide for the children when they were younger.
- The wife’s contribution by looking after the children’s needs both prior to and after separation should recognised.
Faye Bentley, Lincoln based divorce lawyer with Diane Genders Solicitors say “It is a worry that people misunderstand what the law says and does. The divorce simply ends the formal relationship called the marriage. It doesn’t sort out the money.”
“Just as the wedding doesn’t provide the couple with a home or income, then a divorce does not sort out who gets what; it just ends the marriage.”
Faye goes on to explain that some of the newspaper reporting of this case has been rather wide of the mark; “This isn’t a second bite of the cherry! It appears that no order was ever made between the two of them ending their financial claim against the other – or if it was then no-one could find any proof of it. If this couple had obtained and kept a copy of a `Clean Break’ order then Mrs Wyatt would not have been able to apply to the Court and Mr Vince would not have had to pay out more than half a million pounds.”
How to avoid this divorce mistake
It is vital to sort out financial arrangements if you want to make sure that your former spouse cannot come back and make a claim years after the end of your marriage.
Have your agreement written up as a consent order even if your agreement is that neither of you will pay anything to the other or even that neither of you have anything to pay to the other.
The awful irony in all of this is that Mr Vince could have avoided this nasty surprise if he had taken the right steps at the right time. What often underlies this divorce mistake is trying to save a few hundred pounds in not having an order properly processed or simply not even knowing that it needs to be done.
Let us help you
If you didn’t get an order when you divorced and are now concerned about your ex making an application, or feel that you should now revisit an earlier separation then contact Diane Genders Family Solicitors in Lincoln. You can email by clicking here or telephone on 01522 516500.