Yesterday’s the Supreme Court decided that the ex-wife of Ecotricity founder can make a financial claim against him. Kathleen Wyatt, 55, took legal action against Dale Vince OBE, 53, in 2011. The couple were married in 1981 and divorced in 1991. Mr Vince is now reported to be worth £107m after founding green energy company Ecotricity in 1995.
This is how the papers are reporting the news:
London’s Evening Standard reported that, ”Millionaire tycoon Dale Vince faces having to buy ex-wife a home 23 years after divorce.” They went on to say “legal experts said the ruling could open floodgates for claims by long-divorced ex-spouses seeking a share of their former partner’s earnings.”
The Daily Mail reported that the “Ex-wife of hippy turned wind farm tycoon who became a millionaire AFTER they split wins right to fight for £2million divorce payout.” They report that his ex-wife “has taken jobs picking fruit, and since the mid-1990s has lived largely on benefits. Her current home is a former council house in Monmouth, south Wales, bought on a mortgage for £60,000 under right-to-buy laws. By contrast, her former husband has founded Ecotricity, now one of the UK’s biggest green energy companies, worth at least £57million.The strict vegan lives in a £3million 18th century castle near Stroud, Gloucestershire, with his second wife and their five-year-old son. Mr Vince also owns Forest Green Rovers football club where he has banned red meat for players and supporters.”
The Independent reported that “Millionaire Ecotricity founder could be forced to give ex-wife cash payout – 23 years after they divorced.” They go on, “Mr Vince, who lived in an old ambulance after the couple divorced but is now worth an estimated £107 million, argued that his ex-wife had lodged the claim too late. But five Supreme Court justices have unanimously ruled that her case should proceed.”
The Times (subscription) reported that, “Ex-wife of Ecotricity tycoon Dale Vince wins bid for payout 20 years after split.“
Anne Perkins of the Guardian wrote that, “Finally, divorced women who bring up the children have some legal value.” She says, “At last! The Supreme Court has just rocked the apple cart of unequal divorce. It has pronounced that being a parent is an obligation that lasts. Even if one parent is no longer around, for better or worse their fortunes are inextricably bound together. Particularly if those fortunes are for better.”
Dale Vince has called the ruling ‘mad’ and described the situation in some detail on Radio 4’s flagship news programme Today programme at 2:19.
Ms Wyatt’s legal firm, Mishcon de Reya, issued a press release saying, “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has found in favour of our client Kath Wyatt and that her application can continue. We have always believed that our client has a strong case, and we welcome the clarity of this decision by the Supreme Court.”
Ms Wyatt has been told by the court that her claim of £1.9m is “out of the question.” Her claim may still be dismissed. Mr Vince is paying the couple’s legal costs.
Photo: Colin Brough via Freeimages