Dale Vince OBE and his ex-wife Kathleen enjoyed a new age traveller lifestyle after meeting at University. That was 34 years ago.

They married in 1981 and divorced 11 years later in 1992. They had one child.

During the marriage and at the end of the marriage, they were without capital and relatively poor.

Dale Vince went on to launch the green energy company Ecotricity. This happened after the marriage, and he became a multimillionaire. Kathleen played no part in his success.

Kathleen applied to the court more than 23 years after the divorce to seek the payment of a lump sum of £1.9 million. The claim has been allowed, but the lump sum is likely to be significantly less than £1.9 million (believed to be an amount that will enable her to rehouse herself in a suitable property free of mortgage).

Kathleen would have been prevented in bringing this claim had the parties, when they divorced in 1992 obtained a clean break order. This would have prevented either of the parties making a claim against the other in the future, no matter how wealthy or successful either became. It would have even have prevented a claim against the estate of the other if one of them died.

So the lesson to be learnt is that if you get divorced and even if you have no money at the time, you should still get a clean break order to protect you, should your financial position change in the future. If you do not, you could end up like the National Lottery paying out a fortune, but in this case, not selling their tickets to pay for it!

Caption: Andrew Brooks, Partner and Head of the Family Team

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