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Suing For Maintenance Payments Based on Money Earned AFTER the Divorce

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This week, the Daily Mail featured an article entitled, “Hippy Turned Wind Farm Tycoon Worth More than £100m is Sued by His Ex-Wife for £2m he Made AFTER Their Divorce.” The article highlights an important case in England, which could have consequence for those who become rich post-divorce.

In 1981, Kathleen Wyatt and Dale Vince were married. They were both “penniless travelers”, living largely on state benefits. The couple had one son, but ultimately divorced in 1992. Ms. Wyatt did seek child support or alimony from her ex-husband, out of an alleged fear that he would become violent and abusive towards her.

In 1995, Mr. Vince founded Ecotricity, a green energy company that turns wind power into useable energy. Over the years, the company continued to grow and is now worth an estimated £107 million (over 132 million U.S. Dollars). Mr. Vince lives lavishly in a mansion worth over $3.5 million with his new wife and son.

Ms. Wyatt, on the other hand, is living in extreme poverty. She has been living on the streets and sleeping in bus stations. Last year, she filed a claim for maintenance in the English Court of Appeals. She argued that she was entitled to approximately $2.5 million of her ex-husband’s $132 million of accumulated wealth. The claim was denied but Ms. Wyatt and her attorney have appealed to the Supreme Court.

Ms. Wyatt was able to bring a claim against Mr. Vince because in family law cases in England, there is no time limit for a former spouse to bring a financial lawsuit. Phillip Cayford, a judge in England commented, “This case should not have been struck out. We say the Court of Appeal, with the greatest respect, got this wrong.”

This case could be significant to those who divorce young, when there is little wealth to share, making the need to reach financial settlements obsolete. Mr. Vince’s attorney commented, “There are plenty of people who separated decades ago but have not got divorced or if they did get divorced at the time did not deal with financial claims and so this could have profound implications.”

This landmark case could change divorce law in a major way. If granted, this case would open the door to allow maintenance payments based on accumulation of wealth, after the marriage has dissolved.

If you are considering filing for divorce and would like to speak with a respected Long Island Divorce Attorney about complex financial issues like spousal maintenance, enhanced earning capacity, equitable distribution of property, or child support, contact the Law Offices of Jay D. Raxenberg. With over two decades of experience, our firm has the knowledge that is required to address the most complex matrimonial issues. Please call (516) 491-0565 or toll free at (888) 543-4867.

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