Kathleen Wyatt, who the Daily Mail described as a “New Age traveler” was awarded a £ 1.9 million (over 2 million in U.S. dollars) by England’s Supreme Court.
According to BBC News, Wyatt married Dale Vince in 1981; they had one son together and lived a nomadic life as a married couple and parents. After the couple spilt, Vince established his company Ecotricity, which is now worth approximately £ 50 million.
After Vince and Wyatt split, they moved on and established their own families. He became well-off financially and in 2011, almost 20 years after they initially divorced, Wyatt filed a claim to her husband’s fortune, arguing that she raised her son through “16 years or real hardship,” the BBC reported.
In the Supreme Court’s ruling, Lord Wilson said the court should recognize “the contribution of each party to the welfare of the family, including by looking after the home or caring for the family.”
Wyatt hasn’t actually won her case, but she was given the green light to have it reconsidered by England’s equivalent to family court.
Vince responded to the ruling by saying, “This could signal open season for people who had brief relationships a quarter of a century ago.”
He may be right.
As for Wyatt, she is pleased with the decision, but the Supreme Court expressed doubt that the family court will award her the £ 1.9 million she is looking for, though she could get a smaller settlement.
There is little to indicate that this ruling will have any impact here in the U.S., but it is an intriguing argument whether you agree with it or not. And considering the publicity, it might not be too long before a divorce attorney on this side of the pond attempts to use the same argument.
Changing a divorce settlement after the fact happens to be very difficult and often rarely successful. In the U.S. in order to have a divorce settlement renegotiated, one spouse must prove that their spouse hid marital assets or the settlement was the result of fraud or misconduct. Being unhappy about the amount you received is simply not enough; that’s why it is critical you don’t settle for less than you want or think you deserve. Your divorce attorney is supposed to protect your interests and not let you sign off Listen to them and don’t accept a settlement unless they say you should.
Divorce is an exhausting and emotionally draining process and some people just want to get it over with and move on. That’s completely understandable, but don’t let it jeopardize your future and your standard of living. Don’t rush such an importance issue. A divorce law firm will always have your wellbeing foremost in their minds and will work to ensure you can live with your child custody agreement and divorce settlement.