The Telegraph reported this week on the case of Dale Vince and Kathleen Wyatt, a couple who divorced in 1992. Ms Wyatt and Mr Vince reportedly met in 1981 and separated in 1984 having had one child together. Ms Wyatt already had a child at the time they got together, and both children remained living with her after the separation. At the time of the separation, neither party had any significant assets, and no maintenance order was made against Mr Vale at the time of their divorce in 1992. Subsequent Child Support Agency calculations reportedly produced a nil assessment.
After their separation Mr Vince set up his own business, Ecotricity, from the trailer he was living in. Ecotricity has now developed into a multi-million pound business, and Mr Vince lives in a converted fort worth more than £3 million – a far cry from the trailer and vastly different from Ms Wyatt’s standard of living. Ms Wyatt has now made a claim for financial provision and maintenance, which Mr Vince asked the High Court to throw out. Rather than doing so, he was ordered to pay her costs of £125,000. An appeal to the Court of Appeal followed, and the Law Lords hearing the case have reserved judgement to a later date. Lord Justice Jackson is reported as having said that the Court would have to decide whether Ms Wyatt’s claim was “so old and so stale” that it should not be allowed to proceed. If Mr Vince’s attempt to have the case struck out fails, the full application will be heard by the Family Courts later in the year.
One of the leading cases on delay in matrimonial proceedings is that of the 2007 case of Rossi  1 FLR 790, where the husband’s delay in bringing the claim for financial relief was one of the reasons why his claims failed.
Image by Patrick Finnegan under a Creative Commons Licence