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Reasonable grounds

The Wyatt v Vince case caused a huge furor and a lot of media attention, but it was all unwarranted. It was all nothing more than a lack of understating of how financial claims on divorce actually work, says Tom Farley-Hills

23 March 2015

When lay people (or even lawyers who are not family lawyers) think of divorce, they probably think of it as a legal process that dissolves a marriage and deals with any issues that arise about the family finances. However this is only half correct.

How many people know that divorce itself is a different legal process to the process of dealing with, and capping off, financial claims on divorce? How many people know that, in effect, two applications are required to achieve finality in respect to a married couple's financial claims on divorce, and that only an order made by a court can ensure neither party can bring any fresh claims for financial provision after the marriage has been dissolved? Not many.

This is why the Supreme Court's decision handed down in the case of Wyatt v Vince came as a surprise, even to some family lawyers.

Background to the case

Ms Wyatt and Mr Vince married in 1981 and had a child toge...

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