A businessman who earned all his wealth several years after divorcing his wife has agreed to pay her £300,000 in a belated settlement.
Dale Vince and Kathleen Julie Wyatt separated in 1984 when they were both in their early 20s. They divorced in 1992. Mr Vince was penniless at the time but went on to become a millionaire after setting up a business creating energy from wind power.
In 2011 – 19 years after the divorce – Ms Wyatt applied for ancillary relief to give her a £1.9m share of Mr Vince’s newly acquired wealth. He responded by applying for the application to be struck out as an abuse of process because of the time delay in bringing the claim.
The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in Ms Wyatt’s favour.
Lord Wilson said Ms Wyatt’s claim was not an abuse of process and was legally recognisable but she was wrong to ask for £1.9m because an award of that size was “out of the question”. He described Mr Vince as a remarkable man who had built up a green energy business that was now worth £57m.
Following the Supreme Court ruling that the claim could go ahead, the couple reached an agreement that Ms Wyatt would accept £300,000.
The settlement was approved in the High Court by family judge, Mr Justice Cobb. He said: “I am perfectly satisfied that it is reasonable, and that the wife is entitled to receive a modest capital award following the breakdown of this marriage.
“The lump sum payment agreed between the parties fairly represents, in my view, a realistic and balanced appraisal of the unusual circumstances of this case.”
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