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Supreme Court decides on strike-out of wife’s claim 18 years after decree absolute

Judgment to be handed down in Wyatt v Vince on 11th March

On Wednesday, 11th March, the Supreme Court will hand down judgment in Wyatt v Vince.

The appeal concerns the application of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, s23 and its relationship with the Family Procedure Rules 2010 ("FPR"), rule 4.4(1)(a) (no reasonable grounds for application) and (b) (abuse of court's process).

The parties in this case married on 18 December 1981. The wife came into the marriage with a daughter from a previous relationship, E (born in January 1979). The husband (who accepted E as part of the family) and wife had their only child together, D (male), in May 1981. The date of separation is disputed. The husband says it is 1984 whereas the wife says it was some years later.

The wife applied for a divorce which was made absolute on 26 October 1992. At the time of divorce neither husband nor wife had assets or income. The wife remained primary carer of E and D. Following divorce, but before E and D attained majority, the husband formed a company which has been hugely successful. The wife claims that the husband has provided virtually no financial support since their separation. Further, she claims that despite her best efforts she was unable until 2010 to advance her claims for financial relief. The wife describes that she was let down by the legal profession having visited four different Solicitors in 1984, 1992, 1996 and 2002.

There are two Court of Appeal judgments – here and here.

8/3/15