clean break


The news is full of the Supreme Court landmark decision in the Vince divorce case. The decision is not about how much Mrs Vince should receive, if anything. It’s about whether she can bring a claim 20 years after the divorce. The Court concluded unanimously that she can. Her claim is “legally recognisable” and not an “abuse of process”.

This is the first really clear indication given that there is no time bar on a financial application after divorce. For divorcing couples the message is clear: even if there is next to nothing in the marital “pot” ask the Court to make a “clean break” order at the end of the divorce. You never know if success is just around the corner.

If you have not read about the case –

Dale Vince is the founder of the pioneering wind-power company Ecotricity. Long before the company was founded he and his then wife Kathleen were “New Age travellers”. After their divorce some 20 years ago Mr Vince maintained that lifestyle, living in an old ambulance while devoting all his energies to developing a green energy product. In 1995 he started Ecotricity; the company did well. Mr Vince now has an OBE and personal fortune of £107 million.

Mrs Vince has not done so well. Now she wants the Court to make a financial order in her favour . Mr Vince says it’s totally unfair that Mrs Vince can make a claim so long after they divorced, and against assets which were beyond their wildest dreams while they were married. Now Mrs Vince will have to go back to the High Court to have her case decided.

Beswicks family law team regularly advises on clean breaks and gets involved early to plan the financial effects of divorce. Contact Beswicks Legal on 01782 205000 or email