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!