At last, a court order resolving financial matters between Mr Vince and Ms Wyatt has at last been made by Mr Justice Cobb in the judgment published today that will hopefully allow both parties to move on.
It is worth reminding ourselves of the background to this longstanding saga which has incurred both parties in an inordinate amount of stress and costs, which some may say is wholly disproportionate to the award that has been made.
As you may remember, the background to this case is highly unusual in that Ms Wyatt issued an application for a financial remedy against her former Husband Mr Vince some 19 years after their divorce. In the intervening period, Mr Vince’s lifestyle and wealth had changed significantly. He had become a hugely successful business man who owned a company which had an estimated value of £57 million.
There then followed costly litigation in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Mr Vince’s attempt to strike out his former wife’s claim failed at first but then succeeded in the Court of Appeal. Some months later, that judgment was overturned by the Supreme Court who unanimously allowed Ms Wyatt’s appeal against the strike out of her claim and directed that her application should be allowed to proceed in the Family Division of the High Court.
In his Judgment dated 10 June 2016, Mr Justice Cobb confirmed that the final order settling the proceedings should be made public.
In summary, the consent order provided for:
- A lump sum of £300,000 to be paid to Ms Wyatt in full and final settlement of her claim
- That Ms Wyatt should retain a payment on account of £200,000 paid to her by Mr Vince towards the costs of the Supreme Court appeal in addition to the award of £125,000 towards her costs made in December 2012.
The court was “perfectly satisfied” that the settlement was reasonable: “the lump sum payment agreed between the parties fairly represents … a realistic and balanced appraisal of the unusual circumstances of the case, having particular regard to the factors set out in s 25 (1) and (2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973”. It “corresponds with what Lord Wilson had described as the wife’s ‘real prospect of comparatively modest success’ in her claim, falling …within the bracket of possible awards which he appears to have contemplated.
This is a situation that I see all too often. It can be easily avoided by ensuring that financial matters are resolved at the same time as divorce proceedings are issued. In that way, families can move on safe in the knowledge that all aspects have been resolved.
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