Husband wins appeal against claim made 18yrs after divorce

The Court of Appeal has found in favour of the man who was the subject of a claim for maintenance from the ex-wife he divorced 18 years previously.

Dale Vince and Kathleen Wyatt were married in 1981 and were receiving benefits at the time, and when they divorced 3 years later, having had one child. They were for all intents and purposes penniless, but some 12 years after their separation, Mr Vince set up the world's first green energy company, Ecotricity, and grew it up to a £90million business. Ms Wyatt was in a relationship with another man, with whom she had more children, and Mr Vince re-married in 2006 and has also had another child.

Ms Wyatt, 18 years after their divorce, brought a claim against Mr Vince for a housing fund and capitalised lifetime maintenance. The Family Division of the High Court declined to strike out the claim and ordered that Mr Vince pay the legal costs for Ms Wyatt to bring the action against him.

The Court of Appeal struck out the claim and ruled that Mr Vince should not have been ordered to pay his ex-wife's legal costs. Referring to the passage of time between the divorce and the claim, Lord Justice Thorpe said that Mr Vince was not to be Ms Wyatt's "insurer against life's eventualities." Lord Justice Jackson said it "must be an abuse of the court's process to bring such proceedings."

If you require legal advice from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by calling 0800 840 1363.