Warning to divorced couples- keep your court papers safe!

27th March 2015

One of the most important parts of any divorce is resolving how the finances are to be separated. The court will usually look to achieve a ‘clean break’ between the couple, which means that you cannot make any further financial claims against each other. It is recorded on paperwork from the court as an order.

A recent divorce case hit the headlines when the ex-wife was allowed to claim financial support 23 years after divorce. This has sent shivers up the spines of many divorcees but Laura Lambert, solicitor in the family law team at Ansons Solicitors, advises couples not to fear, as long as they have kept their paperwork safe.

“As long as you have a copy of your clean break order made by the court and keep it safe, your spouse cannot return for more capital,” says Laura.

In the ruling from the Supreme Court, Kathleen Wyatt, the ex-wife of multimillionaire Dale Vince, was given the right to make a claim for financial support from his fortune because neither one of the couple could produce court paperwork from their divorce. The claim was allowed because no evidence could be produced to show that a ‘clean break’ order dismissing any financial claims against each other had been made.

At the time of their divorce, in 1992, Dale Vince was a New Age traveller and had little money. More recently, Mr Vince went on to found the green energy company Ecotricity, and made a fortune which is now estimated to be worth £57 million.

In contrast, Ms Wyatt lived a hand-to-mouth existence on welfare benefits and low pay while raising their son (and children from other relationships). Hearing of Mr Vince’s success she made a claim for retrospective financial support claiming part of his capital now, even though neither of them had capital at the time of their separation and divorce.

“This case highlights the need for divorcing couples always to seek professional legal advice and get a binding court order to settle their financial claims, no matter what their circumstances,” says Laura Lambert.

If you are separating from your partner, instructing an experienced solicitor to deal with your divorce is the best way to ensure that all the paperwork is properly completed and you have the correct court orders to allow you to move on with your life.

If you are getting divorced contact Laura Lambert in the Cannock office of Ansons Solicitors on 01543 431 996 or email or Susan Davies at the Lichfield office of Ansons Solicitors on 01543 267 190 or email