Posted by Patrick Hart, Partner
Energy tycoon to pay £300,000 to his ex-wife – almost 20 years after their divorce
A tycoon who made his millions years after divorcing his ex-wife has been ordered to pay her a £300,000 lump sum a quarter of a century on.
Dale Vince, 53, has been told he must make the “modest” payment despite the time lapse involved and the fact they were no longer together when he generated his wealth.
His ex-wife, Kathleen Wyatt, 55, first took her claim for “financial remedy” to the courts in 2011. This was blocked twice but was eventually given the green light by the Supreme Court in March 2015.
She had demanded a £1.9m payout, but approving the terms of the settlement, High Court family judge Mr Justice Cobb said Ms Wyatt was “entitled to receive a modest capital award” following the breakdown of the marriage.
“The lump sum payment agreed between the parties fairly represents, in my view, a realistic and balanced appraisal of the unusual circumstances of this case,” he said.
The couple met in their early 20s and married in 1981. They had very little money and the court was told they lived a New Age traveller lifestyle.
They separated in the mid-1980s and divorced in 1992. Mr Vince – who now lives in Stroud in Gloucestershire – went on to found wind-power firm Ecotricity in 2011.
Mr Vince, said to be worth about £107m, branded the decision “mad” and feared it would set a dangerous precedent.
“This could signal open season for people who had brief relationships a quarter of a century ago,” he said.
“Our relationship ended 32 years ago which is an incredible passing of time. We had a settlement 20 years ago but I cannot prove that because it was so long ago that not even the courts keep records.
“I think it is very wrong just to cash in what is in effect a very old lottery ticket on her part.”
Neither Ms Wyatt nor Mr Vince was in court for the announcement.
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