We didn’t get a Court Order when we divided the assets years ago. Have they still got a financial claim?

June 9, 2015 — 4 Comments

You may have heard in the news recently that Dale Vince, the millionaire wind turbine entrepreneur, was taken to the Supreme Court by his first wife who he had divorced thirty years previously. They were penniless at the time they separated and did not formally deal with the division of the assets by way of Court Order. Following Mr Vince making it big, his first wife decided to have a go and is now claiming £1.9 million from him.

Mr Vince fought the claim and suggested that it was simply too long ago. The Supreme Court ruled in the first wife’s favour. Despite the passage of three decades she can still make a claim against him.

That is a salutory lesson, not just for eco-millionaires, but for anyone who has not dealt with the finances following divorce. Even if there is nothing to split, as in Mr Vince’s case at the beginning, it is essential to get a Court Order which dismisses any future financial claims arising from that marriage.

There is a second, lesser-known, part to the story of Mr Vince which was not picked up by the press. Because he had married again before dealing with the financial claims from his divorce, he was unable to apply to the Court to dismiss his first wife’s claims at an earlier stage. Preferably before he was worth £58 million. He fell into what is called the ‘re-marriage trap’and I have blogged on the consequences of this too.

The lesson here is to get everything dealt with at the time. It may be more expensive in the short term, but it could cost you far more in the future, as Mr Vince has found out!

4 responses to We didn’t get a Court Order when we divided the assets years ago. Have they still got a financial claim?


    Thanks for this interesting article!

    In my situation I *believe* I sorted out the finances at the time of separation, but am yet to get divorced – almost 3 years on. So reverse of the above..

    By “believe” I mean I have a signed witnessed separation agreement (via a solicitor) and no children to complicate matters, but i am nervous about pursuing a divorce in case another financial claim can be made. I got the better deal, it wasn’t 50/50, and have since amassed more assets. We have an amicable relationship, and she was/still is ok with the deal we did.

    Should I be nervous or does the agreement and the time past give me safety!?


      Hi Graham and I very happy you enjoyed my perspective.

      As ever with these things, it is difficult to give a definitive answer as I would need to see the documents. Having said that, I am sure you and your solicitor did as much at the time as you could.

      I presume that the imbalance in your favour was explained in the document and that one of the terms included was that, upon your divorce, the agreement would form the basis of an Order to be made by the Court by consent.

      Provided that the agreement reached was property constituted and broadly fair, and your wife’s needs were and are being met by it, all should be well; although I can’t give you an absolute guarantee as I am sure you anticipated.

      I suppose my advice would be to get the divorce and the Consent Order made sooner rather than later whilst you are amicable and before you amass more assets.

      Give me a call if you want a chat.



    Thanks for the reply I’ll make an appointment to see you!!, shall I call the office?

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