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Wind turbines and Financial Orders

View profile for Franca Webb
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Wind turbines and why I always advise clients to obtain a financial order on divorce

I have been a solicitor for in excess of 38 years and for approximately 30 of those years I have dealt exclusively with family law matters.  I have met and advised thousands of people during this time.

One thing that my clients have invariably sought is certainty.  It is for this reason when I have a client who instructs me on a divorce I always advise that a financial order is obtained at the time.  Even if neither party has any assets at all a clean break order can be obtained which would mean that neither of the parties could claim against the other in the future.   The wind turbine case is an excellent example as to why clients should heed this advice. 

Kathleen Wyatt met Dale Vince when they were students.  Kathleen already had a son living with her.   

Kathleen and Dale were married in 1981.  They separated in the mid 1980s and divorced in 1992.   Kathleen lived with the assistance of state benefits and initially Dale lived in an old ambulance.  When they were together it is reported that they had a new age traveller type of lifestyle. 

In 1995 Dale launched a green energy company and by 1997 Ecotricity began to flourish and Dale was described as tycoon and entrepreneur.

In 2011 Kathleen applied for a financial order due to the divorce and by 2012 a judge had decided that she could bring such an application.  Dale appealed this decision in 2013 and his appeal was granted.  It appears Dale’s case was that Kathleen’s application for a financial order was lodged too late after the divorce.

In 2015 Kathleen appealed to the Supreme Court (the highest court in England and Wales) which decided that Kathleen could bring her application for a financial order despite the amount of time since the divorce had been granted.  Dale had to make payment to Kathleen of a lump sum of money.

If either Dale or Kathleen had made an application for and obtained a financial order at the time of the divorce, even it was for a clean break order, a lot of time, money and no doubt heartbreak and upset could have been avoided.  Both Kathleen and Dale would have known exactly where the line in the sand had been drawn and would know their way forward in respect of finances.

If you instruct me to deal with your divorce and I seem a little obsessed with a financial order just think  “wind turbines”!