The recent case of Wyatt v Vince  has sharply focussed the need for parties to always try to deal with their financial matters when divorcing and for any agreements reached to be recorded into a binding Order appropriately considered and approved by the Court.
There may be many reasons why parties may choose not to obtain such Orders which might include reaching informal agreements with ex-spouses at a time when their assets were reducing in value and they were trying to keep their costs down. However, the Wyatt case is a clear reminder that where there is no legally binding agreement or Order, in theory there is no limit to one partner potentially pursuing a further financial claim against the other. Therefore, one partner may find themselves later in life in a better financial position in terms of their capital assets, pension values and income but also therefore potentially sharing in their post- divorce wealth that they have created.
The Wyatt case is being brought back to Court many years after the parties divorced. There was some uncertainty and argument as to whether the parties had reached an agreement or financial Order at the time of the divorce, but there appears to be no surviving Court records. In this case, the Court has still to decide the outcome of Ms Wyatt’s claim but it appears that a further settlement will now be imposed on Mr Vince who is now in a far wealthier position than he was at the time of the divorce.
We have always advised parties who are divorcing to make sure that they have recorded their agreement into a Consent Order (if part of a divorce) and for this to then be approved by a Judge. This is also relevant to parties who might reach agreement via the mediation or arbitration processes as well – they still need to obtain legal advice and for that agreement to be drafted into a Consent Order which is then approved by the relevant Court.
For further information, please contact Paul Wild at [email protected]