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'This ruling essentially paves the way for anyone without a completed financial order to bring a claim against their former spouse regardless of how long ago they divorced.Resolution chair Jo Edwards comments:
The case highlights the importance of ensuring that all financial matters are finalised at the time of divorce and a court order is obtained. Otherwise it could lead to future claims to a share of the wealth earned after the divorce.
It is unprecedented to hear of a claim being made after 22 years but the court has ruled that because there was no financial order and no time limit in family law for making a financial order, there was nothing to prevent Ms Wyatt’s claim from being successful and the High Court will now consider how much she should receive bearing in mind current law.
While any good divorce lawyer should ensure that all financial matters are finalised and immune to future claims, it is crucial that any divorcees who don’t have financial orders in place review their situation as they may now face claims against based on wealth acquired after the divorce.'
'The Supreme Court has made it clear that the draconian power to strike out family proceedings simply does not exist, but stress that the court will consider the merits of such applications on a case by case basis.The below text is the official press summary of Vince v Wyatt  UKSC 14:
If Ms Wyatt had lost her appeal, Resolution was concerned that people without access to legal advice as a result of the legal aid cuts would have been at risk of having their applications struck out without proper consideration simply because of delay, along arbitrary lines.
But it’s also important that people who have become wealthy over time are not exposed to potentially opportunistic claims many years after a marriage has broken down. We want to see reform of the law around financial provision on divorce. Part of that is a desire for greater clarity and a clearer intention to get couples to financial independence sooner.
It will be interesting to see how the court now approaches Ms Wyatt’s substantive claim, with clear indications from Lord Wilson of the likely limits of her claim in view of the facts of this case. If she had pursued her financial claims at the time of separation, there would likely have been a capital clean break at that point and no ability to come back and claim more now. It seems unlikely that she will be able to sustain a needs-based claim. She is more likely to succeed on the basis of her contributions through caring for the children after the marriage breakdown, but her delay in bringing a claim may well dictate otherwise.
We are rightly proud of the broad discretion which the family courts have in England and Wales and the ability to tailor outcomes to families. However, critics would say that we need to inject a greater degree of certainty into outcomes in family cases, and in doing so reduce the extent and cost of litigation associated with the broad discretion we have.'
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