So, why has the Supreme Court made this decision? With marriage comes potentially life long financial obligations and there is no time limit for seeking orders for financial provision or property adjustment for the benefit of a spouse following divorce. Married couples should be warned, the Matrimonial Causes Act provides for Court Orders to be made for financial relief on the granting of a decree of divorce “or at any time thereafter”.
This means that when you get married unless you obtain a Court Order within divorce proceedings (by agreement or by Judgement) satisfying or dismissing the financial claims the law provides against each other, you remain at risk of future financial claims being made against you.
It is expected that her claim will be limited by the Court to such sum as would provide her with a more comfortable and mortgage free home for herself and adult children. It is not expected that she will essentially share in Dale Vince’s fortune. Her reasonable and basic housing needs should be provided for to reflect the contribution she did make during the marriage and in raising the couple’s child as a single parent for a large proportion of his life without financial contribution from Dale Vince before he found business success.
These parties could have saved themselves significant legal costs and time if they had considered a more amicable approach to resolving their dispute. They could have focussed on working collaboratively, outside of the Court process, and discussed their respective positions and found a compromise. Instead of seeking to strike out Kathleens’ application, Dale Vince could have taken a more pragmatic approach. Kathleen could have looked to minimise her claim to only meet her needs rather than share in Dale Vince’s vast fortune. The claims of both could have been satisfied for significantly less legal fees (especially since Dale Vince has been responsible for a large sum of Kathleen’s legal fees), anguish and time and for both perhaps achieved a more satisfactory result.